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Sunday, June 28, 2015

No Holds Barred: King Mo on Bellator MMA Dynamite, PBC and Boxing, and Black Lives Matter 

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman once again spoke with Bellator MMA and American Top Team fighter "King" Mo Lawal.

He will be returning to action on the Bellator MMA: Dynamite!!! card Saturday, September 19, in a four-man, one-night light heavyweight tournament to determine Bellator's number one contender in this division. The other fighters in this tournament are former Bellator champion Emanuel Newton, Linton Vassell, and 2008 NCAA Div. I wrestling champion Phil Davis, who will be making his Bellator debut. This card, which is headlined by a light heavyweight title fight between unbeaten champion Liam McGeary and MMA legend Tito Ortiz, takes place at the SAP Center in San Jose, California, and will be telecast live in the U.S. on Spike.

We spoke with "King" Mo Lawal by phone Friday.

Speaking about potentially, and in his case hopefully, having two fights on the same card, he said that he became aware of this format "when everybody else did, so it still hasn't registered yet. I feel like it will register more when camp starts because I have to maneuver my training a little bit more, because I have to train for two fights, not just one five-round fight."

He continued, "It's just going to be a little different. I have to break my training up differently, so I'm still figuring out how to do that. But I'm looking forward to the challenge. I'm excited there's a possibility of this happening. To me, I always say 'possibility' now, because you never know what's going to happen until the weigh-ins end. So I'm really looking forward to this happening and I'm looking forward to training for it."

"King" Mo is also a big boxing aficionado, having trained with Jeff Mayweather as well as many pro and amateur boxers. He follows boxing very closely, so we also discussed the recent revival of boxing, especially in the U.S., and the role of the controversial Al Haymon and the Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) series of shows on numerous TV networks.

Saying that in many ways boxing is "the opposite of MMA," he argued that PBC has the "right plan" to build new stars and expose more fans to boxing. Even some of the PBC's fights in which one fighter is heavily favored do not hurt this plan, as he noted that most boxing fans "want knockouts" and that is what will be displayed on PBC's many telecasts on free TV.

He also has taken to social media to comment on the series of racist terror attacks on unarmed Black men and women by police and others which have taken place across the U.S., and the growth of the Black Lives Matter movement. As an African-American and a son of immigrants, he grew up in the American South, he said, and "I've seen it all." We also discussed why many boxers and athletes in other sports have also been outspoken on these issues, while few in MMA have for fear of losing their fan base.

We also discussed how he is helping the legendary Ricardo Liborio prepare for his ADCC superfight with Mario Sperry, how his health is now better than when he had a nasty staph infection and then was taking antibiotics which hindered some of his performances, and much more.

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