"This deal is a dream come true for me," Lawal said. "Bjorn [Rebney, Bellator CEO] and Dixie [Carter, TNA president] have given me the opportunity to engage in my two great loves, mixed martial arts and professional wrestling, at the same time. And, to have it all on Spike TV is really Buttercream icing on a big ole cake — not that whipped cream stuff either!"
He will begin appearing with TNA Impact this summer. When Bellator moves from MTV2 to Spike in 2013, Lawal will return to mixed martial arts.
It's a perfect fit for Lawal, who has world-class amateur wrestling credentials and enough showmanship to fit in well among the pro wrestling world. His fight entrances often used props and dancers, and he wore a crown and a cape to the cage. Lawal also showed off his pro wrestling chops with Strikeforce heavyweight Daniel Cormier in November of 2009.
This contract is a bright spot for what had been a turbulent 2012 for Lawal. He contracted a life-threatening staph infection after knee surgery. His victory over Lorenz Larkin was overturned by the Nevada Athletic Commission for a positive drug test, and he was suspended from MMA for nine months. After the hearing to appeal his suspension, Lawal called a commissioner a racist [expletive], and was cut from Strikeforce. Though he apologized personally to the commissioner, he was still not invited back to the Zuffa-owned promotion.
He doesn't see a scenario where he will return to Zuffa through Strikeforce or the UFC:
"I'm not going to wait for nobody. If somebody comes to me with something that is good and a great deal, I'm going to take the best deal. And right now, the Bellator deal is the best deal you can possibly get. With Bellator and Impact Wrestling, that's the best deal you can possibly get, and I took it."
- Martial Arts
- Sports & Recreation
- professional wrestling
- Spike TV
- mixed martial arts