A lot of TNA's future is currently in flux (or even doubt), and with most signs pointing to their not being on Spike TV past 2014, their partnership with Viacom-owned mixed martial arts promotion Bellator is certainly one of those things.
Bellator contracted fighter Quinton "Rampage" Jackson trashed Dixie Carter and her company after his time there, Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal doesn't share his views. In fact, he recently told the Australia-based MMA podcast Submission Radio that he's a loyal to TNA, even when talking up his brief time working in WWE Developmental in the mid-aughts, shortly after finishing his amateur wrestling career at Oklahoma State:
I went to OVW [Ohio Valley Wrestling - then WWE's Developmental territiory] and they offered me a contract. I was like 'I wanna go', but then I was like 'hey, you know what, I wanna be like a two time Kurt Angle. I wanna be an Olympic champion, then go to MMA be a champion, then go to Pro Wrestling'. So I was like, that'd be perfect cause then no one else has done that. 'Cause Kurt Angle came in the Olympic champion, so I wanted to one-up him.
I loved it, It was great. I was up there with Mark Henry, Scotty 2 Hotty, The worm, Gail Kim was out there, Nathan Jones was out there. It was surreal, Carlito Cool (was out there). I was out there, man it was fun man. I liked the WWE, but I'm a TNA person. I feel like top to bottom TNA has better wrestling, now WWE might have a better show as far as atmosphere and being around longer, but I feel like top to bottom TNA has better wrestling. Like WWE has great wrestlers like (Dean) Ambrose and (Seth) Rollins, and with the Shield and some other guys like Cesaro. They're great, but if you look at the whole card you see matches where you're like 'ah boring', too many promos, too much talking. I watch both, (but) I fast forward most of the WWE because the promos are so long. Their talking in promo's, I'm like 'fast forward. Ok you wasted 45 minutes, it's taken like three matches' you know what I'm saying. But with TNA you see a promo there, then there's matches, matches, matches, small promo, more matches, and the promo's are shorter in TNA.
I'm not sure if Mo has been watching the same Impact that I've been watching the last few years, but it is clear that he watches pro wrestling. That's evident again when he comments on WWE's main event scene with another MMA veteran, Brock Lesnar, as World champ and how he's currently being booked with John Cena:
I love it, because here's the thing, right now John Cena just put Brock Lesnar over big time, so now Brock should ride a wave. Whoever beats Brock is going to be the next big thing of the WWE. Because for him to dominate John Cena like that, whoever beats Brock has to be the man, and it's gonna be someone like Roman Reigns or maybe Cesaro, it's gonna be someone they wanna give a big push to. So you know it makes sense. Creative knows what they're doing, even in TNA when they do something like that, they do it for a reason. A lot of fans don't get it, but in a long run it makes a lot of sense.
Lawal also has an interesting take on pro wrestling vs. MMA and their effects on the body. Basically, unless you can get Lesnar's schedule of three or four pro wrestling matches a year, Mo thinks you're better off in the cage:
Pro Wrestling is harder than MMA. Here's the reason why, in MMA I can avoid damage. I can circle, I can pull guard, I can take you down, I can push you to the cage, hell I can tap, I can verbally give up. In Pro Wrestling I've seen guys tear their ACL and continue to wrestle solely to please the crowd. You know regardless of what happens, the show must go on. You go out there, people are out there at one point they were wrestling like three times a week, four times a week. You know Hulk Hogan's leg drop shrunk his spine, but guess what, he was still doing it. You know, your body is banged up, you're taking bumps, you're flying over ropes, through the ropes, hitting the ropes, hitting the turnbuckle, getting body slammed, taking a bump. You know that stuff breaks your body down, and you could ask any wrestler, you get a wrestler that's 47 years old and you get an MMA fighter that's 47 years old, the wrestler's gonna look like he's sixty compared to an MMA fighter. You get Randy Couture and compare him to someone like the Undertaker, I know Undertaker's a little older but I guarantee you the Undertaker at 47, 48 years old was far more beat up then what Randy Couture was.
Of course, no one affiliated with TNA can get away without answering a question or two about the promotion's situation with Spike TV for television in the Untied States. King Mo tows the company line on that one, but does manage to do something any pro wrestler would be proud of - plug himself:
I have no idea what's going to happen, I'm hoping the Spike TV Deal happens. I'm pretty sure Dixie has people on it. You know I went to wrestling school, I can wrestle matches. I'm just hoping things get situated so I can get back on Impact and show the wrestling world that King Mo knows what he's doing in the squared circle. Because when it comes down to it, I put my work in at Ohio Valley Wrestling. I wanna show off what I've learned.
Will TNA survive long enough to get King Mo into their six-sided ring? Is the Bellator star really committed to them, or would he consider other options if a few more losses forced him out of big-time MMA?
Check out the full interview on YouTube (you can jump directly to Mo at the :49 minute mark).