Former Strikeforce light-heavyweight champion Muhammed ‘King Mo’ Lawal is never shy about stating his opinion, and both before and after last weekend’s Barnett Vs Kharitonov event he spoke of his belief that the promotion is in terminal decline.
“It feels a little weird, because it’s not the same,” Lawal told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour last week. “It’s like a cancer patient, like a dying cancer patient. That’s how I feel like the organization is. We’re just waiting for it to die, to pass.”
After witnessing a significant drop in media attending the show compared to previous events and also a sub-par attendance Lawal then admitted to MMAJunkie on Monday that if anything things were worse than he had previously thought.
“I thought Strikeforce was a cancer patient…Man, it’s a damn AIDS patient instead – with Dr. Jack Kevorkian in the background ready to pull the plug…It was a damn shame, dawg. It was sad. There was like, what? Two-thousand people there?”
Estimates did place the attendance at around 1500 – 2000. We don’t have official figures as tellingly the promotion broke with tradition and chose not to reveal them. What we do know is that the TV ratings for the live broadcast on Showtime also posted well below normal at 276,000.
So King Mo has a point, but it appears that UFC president Dana White didn’t take too kindly to his remarks. Here’s what he had to say to Yahoo! Sports Kevin Iole about them.
“If Mo whatever the [expletive] his name is, or any of those guys, think I planned all this [expletive] they’re out of their minds. Yes, we signed Overeem and made the Brock [Lesnar] fight. Do you think I expected Nick Diaz to pull this [expletive]?
“We have all kinds of stuff going and I didn’t need this in my life. It is what it is and I never had a thought in my mind of [expletive] with Strikeforce. But I promote the UFC 24/7.”
Since then Lawal has written a number of posts on his Twitter accounts in which he vigorously defended his right to have an opinion, and also pointed out that he never claimed that the UFC had planned this.
“When did I ever say the UFC planned all that!? Lol. Somebody needs to get their facts straight,” he wrote after being referred to the original article.
“I stand by what I done already said!!! The SF card was overshadowed by the UFC news. So let’s keep thangs 100 and stop bullshittin!”
Clearly in a defiant mood He continued to post his thoughts on the matter.
“I guess in MMA when u voice ur opinion using facts….that’s a bad thing. I ain’t gonna keep my mouth shut. If muthafuckaz wanna get mad….that’s on them. Athletes from other sports can voice they opinion in other sports. I ain’t bash nobody.”
Later in a response to a fan he referred directly to Dana White, stating, “yeah. He can be sensitive. I never said his name in no interviews when I talked about SF.”
None of this should be too surprising to people who are familiar with Lawal as he’s always been an outspoken character.
Personally I don’t think he’s dealing well with this situation though. Sometimes you’ve just got to know when it’s time to either apologize or simply just keep your thoughts to yourself.
Given that Strikeforce does appear to be on it’s way out which will make the UFC the only show for a fighter of King Mo’s stature it’s not a smart move to stir up trouble with the promotion’s owner, particularly as up until this point it appears that White had very little idea of who he was.
Hopefully this won’t escalate too much further as I do believe King Mo would be a good addition to the UFC’s 205lb roster in the future.