When you talk about pro wrestling versus MMA, fans are like, "pro wrestling is fake, nothing's real and it's like a soap opera." Whereas those same people say MMA is real: it's real competition.
We have seen fighters make the transition from pro wrestling to MMA, with some notables like Brock Lesnar, Bobby Lashley, Dave Batista and Ken Shamrock making the trek.
But we have never seen the transition from MMA to pro wrestling or someone who does both sports at the same time. Enter former Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal.
It was announced in May that Lawal had agreed to a deal with Bellator Fighting Championships and TNA Wrestling. Lawal made his debut in TNA a little less than three weeks ago, with his Bellator debut slated for sometime in January.
Lawal who has been an avid wrestling fan since he was a little kid and didn't know what to expect when he made his debut.
"I had to change shirts," Lawal told Bleacher Report. "I didn't know what to expect. The people didn't know who I was. They respect me because I respect the sport. The fans could have booed me or not cheer for me. I was happy that I got some kind of pop. I was cool with the reaction. I would have been in trouble if I got no reaction. That was my main concern."
Pro wrestlers have been known in the past to become territorial when new people come into what they perceive as "their world." Lawal says that wasn't the case with him.
"They (the wrestlers) were cool," Lawal stated. "They respect me because I respect wrestling. I know a lot of old school wrestlers, their moves, etc. I was a huge wrestling fan growing up and now I'm stepping into their world and training to do it."
Lawal has been training at Ohio Valley Wrestling in Louisville, Kentucky, for about three weeks under the guidance of former WWE wrestler Nick "Eugene" Dinsmore and Frank Miller. Lawal says the training has been harder than he ever anticipated.
"I thought it was going to be hard, but this (pro wrestling training) is harder than I expected," Lawal stated. "I'm going to tell you this. Pro wrestling training is three times harder than MMA. It's harder because of the psychology, the positioning, the bumps, hitting the ropes and cutting promos.
"That s**t is hard. People don't understand this s**t. People think wrestling is all fake. If you think it is fake, come try it out and you will see how real it really is."
The Bellator and TNA star loves MMA, but feels MMA is starting to become a fad.
"It starts with the way the fans don't think for themselves," Lawal stated. "They have to look to certain people for approval on how they think. They bash the fighters and think fighting is easier than it really is. A lot of people didn't grow up fighting. They grew up playing football and basketball. So they can relate to missing a pass, a layup, free throws and dropping a pass, an interception or kicking a field goal.
"MMA fans never grew up fighting. They just put on their Affliction or Tapout shirts and say, 'Hey I'm a fighter or hey I'm going to a fight.'
"To me, its a joke. It is a certain demographic that's involved and I'm not with that."
You can follow me Twitter @fightclubchi.
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