After this Friday, one of the most accomplished fighters in MMA history will be a free agent and officially retired from the sport. This fighter is a former world champion and a former competitor for the brand. That man is none other than Muhammed Lawal.
It may seem a bit odd that Lawal, also known as ‘King Mo’ would be a name that IMPACT should pursue but there’s a lot here to expand on. Firstly you have the MMA connection already, with names like Frank Trigg, Stephan Bonnar and of course Ken Shamrock. The MMA influenced isn’t that deep at the moment but with names like Frank Mir, Cain Velazques, Matt Riddle, and Tom Lawlor all floating around these days, it makes sense for Lawal to capitalize off of his MMA name value and transition into a new industry with similar skills.
There’s also the historical context with Lawal and IMPACT. Lawal was always complimentary about his time in IMPACT and finally, after five years, got to compete for them at the 2017 Bound for Glory event. He tagged with his American Top Team cohort Bobby Lashley against Moose and Stephan Bonnar. It would make more sense these days to put Lawal and Moose together, but the context still exists.
Finally, there’s the fact that Lawal is a former world champion, and a name of some substantial value and the world of pro wrestling is lacking major free agents. Think about it, NJPW, WWE, AEW NWA, MLW, ROH, IMPACT, and others run shows with exclusive talent. To grab a top free agent in today’s climate would be akin to IMPACT bringing in Joey Ryan.
He was one of the top free agents left. Sure, there are better talents out there and more impressive athletes to discover but in terms of made talent to be had, there aren’t many left. You have to go outside of the box to find some buzzworthy attractions. That’s what this is, a buzzworthy attraction.
IMPACT would be wise to bring in Lawal, and even sign Bonner and Trigg to deals as well. The balance of those three with Shamrock could be the start of something awesome. Perhaps the old IMPACT Grand Championship could actually work if you had more men like Lawal and fewer men like Aron Rex.