Amid the retirements of UFC light heavyweights like Alexander Gustafsson and Jimi Manuwa, another fantastic light heavyweight fighter has elected to hang up the gloves: The great Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal.
Lawal, a former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion, RIZIN Grand Prix winner, and Bellator contender, quietly retired from competition earlier this week. The news was announced on the official Instagram page of American Top Team, the gym he’s called home for many years.
Speaking to MMA Junkie, King Mo confirmed that his retirement is both legitimate and permanent.
“I’m done for good,” he said. “My body can’t handle it, man. Too many surgeries. My body, as I’ve gotten older, I just can’t keep weight on. I’ve got (hyperthyroidism). That, with the injuries and my replaced hip, my five ACL surgeries and my staph infection and me being 38 … right now I’m about 197 pounds. Everything is falling off me, man.”
King Mo continued, explaining that he’s been thinking retirement since before his recent RIZIN rematch with Jiri Prochazka.
“I’m going to be totally real with you: Before the (Jiri Prochazka) fight,” he added. “I could feel how I was walking. For the past five years before I had the surgery, I was walking weird because my hip was all messed up. I just knew I had to do something. So I got the surgery done, and once I got it done, I knew: I can’t do this for much too much longer. I’m going to need a full replacement. My body’s been feeling weird for the past few years. I just don’t got it no more, man. I’m just old. Old and beat up.”
Over the course of his career, King Mo picked up big wins over dangerous foes such as Gegard Mousasi, Roger Gracie, Seth Petruzelli, Cheick Kongo, Linton Vassell, Teodoras Aukstuolis, Jiri Prochazka, Satoshi Ishii and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. The wrestling specialist retires with an overall record of 21-9 (1). Despite never fighting in the UFC, he should be remembered as a top-level light heavyweight and heavyweight who fearlessly took on all comers.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 6/4/2019.