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Strikeforce: Houston, King Mo Talks Pro Wrestling Influence

King_mo_display_image_mediumAs much as Luke Thomas hates it, pro wrestling and MMA are most certainly intertwined. Many of the best fighters in the game have said that pro wrestling has greatly influenced their style. Tito Ortiz has said that he channeled Stone Cold Steve Austin. Chael Sonnen admitted to a connection between what he does and pro wrestling. Rampage recently talked at length about his love for it and appeared on an episode of Raw. Now we can add yet another fighter to say he's been influenced by it, King Mo Lawal. In talking to he revealed as much: You’re known as a fan of professional wrestling. Before you ever started training in MMA, did you ever look at those pro wrestling characters and say "this is a way I can set myself apart from everybody else," by having this kind of flamboyant and over the top persona?

King Mo: Not really. I started doing it when I was wrestling and then when MMA hit and I started fighting, I definitely wanted to keep doing it. I wasn’t going to change nothing. Pro wrestling helped influence my persona, though. Who influenced that persona the most?

King Mo: I took a little bit from Booker T, from Jerry Lawler and Harley Race. Some of my stuff came from movies, like the rose petals from "Coming to America." I watched a movie about this mafia don and he had a guy just holding an umbrella over his head while he was walking. So I just threw a little bit of everything in there. Some of it I got from TV and movies and some of it I got from pro wrestling.

All three of those guys have had long careers and been controversial in some form or another throughout their time in the business. It's not much a surprise to see those three names as his influences. I really like it how more and more fighters in MMA are bringing to light how pro wrestling has played a part in their life and careers. Someday I hope to see an extended interview with some of these guys where they talk in more depth about it. Maybe that's something we can make happen here at Cageside Seats. I've been working on that, so stay tuned for it.

Thanks to Kid Nate for pointing out a great piece that Dave Meltzer, the original MMA/pro wrestling hybrid journalist, put up today. It's a great read and I strongly urge you to go here and check it out. Here's an excerpt from the article:

Lawal started as an amateur wrestler largely because of his childhood love of pro wrestling. He nearly made the move to pro wrestling himself but put it off. He says it’s not a question of maybe but rather when that childhood goal will be achieved. Then he says he’ll go on to be a pro-wrestling star. But it won’t be soon, as his current goal is to not just be an MMA champion, something he achieved just 19 months into his career, but also be considered an all-time great in the sport.

Here's another interesting tidbit:

But he says everything started with watching pro wrestling on television, in particular the 1980s versions of the National Wrestling Alliance and Mid-South Wrestling. Lawal can talk in detail about wrestlers and stories from back in the mid-’80s, when he was just 4 years old. He learned valuable lessons from being a pro-wrestling fan, soaking up strategy and technique by studying VHS videotapes from all over the world.

The other lesson learned was how to promote fights.

That's the big one, ladies and gentlemen. Promoting fights. The fight itself is what truly matters but if no one is there to see it then did it really happen? Some MMA fans might not like it, others, like us here at Cageside Seats, embrace it, but that is just the way it is. You have to make us care. Pro wrestling more often then not finds a way to do that. Just telling me that their is going to be a fight between two guys is not good enough. I need a good reason to want to watch them fight. I watched Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen in part because I knew that it would be a great fight but also because I really wanted to watch Sonnen lose. I got tired of hearing him run his mouth. That was the whole point. Their is a lesson to be learned and King Mo has got it.

Like I said, go check out the article. It's a great read.

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