We love interviewing King Mo. Talking to King Mo for any period of time is like going to a combat sports school made from concentrate (without the pulp) for as long as the conversation lasts. You better believe we are appreciative whenever the King takes time out of his busy day to drop knowledge on us, that's why we jumped at the chance to talk to the former Strikeforce champion about his TNA Wrestling gig, his upcoming debut in the Bellator light heavyweight tournament and his thoughts on those damn MMA fans he always seems to be at odds with.
Just like any King Mo interview, this is a must read.
You're training for the Bellator light heavyweight tournament in January, you're running back and forth to the gym for pro-wrestling training, how do you do it? How do you find the time?
Right now I'm going to pro wrestling, I leave for Holland on the first where I'll get my ass whopped for a bit by Gokhan Saki, Melvin Manhoef and the rest. Then I'll finish up at AKA, jump in, fight in the tournament. So I'm going to bring some of the wrestlers out to California to train with me. I just watch less YouTube to find the time. I watch less fights. In MMA I spent all my time training and watching fights. Look, watch less fights on YouTube, watch boxing like I normally do on weekends, then I will put in my pro wrestling training a few times a month. I do that a few times a month and mix with my MMA training.
What do you think of a potential Babalu fight?
In the first round? I have no idea. I hope not, he's my boy. Maybe in the finals we'll take the fight because it's worth more then. Whatever. I can't pick and choose who I fight. A fight's a fight and that's what it is.
I wanted to talk to you about this quote that came from you a few days ago.
"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."
I see the negative sides of MMA fans often, so I get it. But do you think it's unfair to sum up MMA fans like that?
Unfair? It's the truth! Majority of football fans grew up playing football in the yard, played football in college, high school, junior high, grade school, pop warner. Same with basketball. They have basketball courts you can play basketball at, football fields you can play flag football at. Where have you seen an MMA gym out in the open where you can go and fight at?
Truth, but the sport is so young. You see more gyms and BJJ gyms opening up...
Yeah, yeah, yeah but that's jiu jitsu and that's different because it's only one part of MMA. That's one part. Sure there are kids growing up grappling now, so in about fifteen years they will be like 'oh he messed up with that armbar transition' because they grew up grappling. You know? They grappled a little bit. I don't like when the fans say oh he has a weak chin, or he can't finish a cupcake. Even in street fights, people don't get knocked out every fight, lots of em get broken up, but you know, and dude's bleeding and says 'oh you got me this time it's off.' You don't see knockouts and chokeouts and referee stoppages in street fights. You know what I'm saying? There's street fights where it's just you and no one can break it up but your friends.
It pisses me off how you're always right. You make a good point. But it's not like every wrestling fan knows how to run ropes, I don't find them all that much more respectful...
Yeah, but wrestling fans grew up watching wrestling and they are there for the entertainment value. You do something the right way, and you're a heel and they think 'aw I can't stand that guy' then you're doing a good job because they can't stand your character. For instance: this guy named Glacier.
Yeah I remember that.
Yeah, WCW was pumping him up. Glacier. Glacier is coming. And when he came it was a bust. No one cheered for him, he looked like a busted Sub Zero mixed with David Carridine from Kung Fu Continues. They weren't even booing. They were like 'bathroom break.' In pro wrestling, if you get a cheer, good. If you get a boo, that's good, because you're doing something right. It's not like pro wrestling fans are like oh he can't pin a cupcake or anything like that. They are there to be entertained. In football when have you ever heard 'oh that's a boring-ass football game, 3-0. Sucks. Man it came down to the wire, a missed field goal and it's overtime! That's sport! The Olympics: sport. They don't watch for entertainment they watch for the athletes and to support the athletes of their country.
Well we've seen wrestling be popular up and down for the last 30-40 years, and what is it? Is MMA plateauing?
I don't think it is, I don't think it has that going on. I think the fans don't respect it. The higher ups, everyone they go to for affirmation talks down on the sport, making it seem like it's easy to go out there and knock someone out. A lot of these guys who we go to for affirmation have never even fought before! Like De La Hoya for example, he was a champion. So he can say stuff about someone's technique. When have you ever heard Don King say something about someone's technique? Never! All he says is my guy's the champion and the best ever come watch it. When have you ever heard Bob Arum say 'this guy sucks and he couldn't bust a grape' no. He might say that behind closed doors but he's not out there bashing boxers.
I'm confused, are you saying these 'higher-ups' are Dana?
No, I'm saying people in general. Dana? Nah he's not someone I look to for affirmation. I mean on Twitter and stuff. But I'm saying it. Respect the fighter. Respect Jon Fitch. This motherfucker up there bustin' his ass at the gym, I see it, everyone sees it. Respect Jon Fitch. Yeah man. Respect Gilbert Melendez, respect Jorge Masvidal, respect all the fighters. Daniel Cormier, Josh Barnett, Stephan Bonnar, Anderson Silva they are out there busting their ass doing hard work, and there are people out there who want to downplay what they've done? Respect Chael. Respect Ronda Rousey, respect Julia Budd, respect all these people out there fighting. There are people out there who are underrated becasue of their record. It's not easy to wake up, train, get beat up and beat someone up and do that shit over and over every day. It's like, Kaitlin Young is one of the best fighters to watch, and she's 7-7-1. So fucking what? She can FIGHT! You know? Chael Sonnen doesn't have the best record but he goes out there and gives you a fight. And you know what? I like his mouthpiece. He sells the fight. He sells the fucking fight. Stephan Bonnar comes to fight, Anderson Silva, Jorge Masvidal, Gilbert Melendez...'Oh, Gilbert is afraid to come to the UFC' shit, Gilbert will fight anyone for any amount of money. He might come after me for the right amount. Respect these fighters! The Diaz brothers are fighters. They have a fighter's heart and mentality. All of these people talked shit about Brock Lesnar and I used to be down on him a bit, but Brock Lesnar will come fight your ass, dog. He came to the sport and fought and won the belt. He put up and shut up and I respect him for that. He shut up and went and did it. Fuck.
You bring up a lot of interesting names, we are big fans of Daniel Cormier and Jorge Masvidal on the site...
Let me tell you something about Daniel, I was there with him at his first fight. And he said 'let me see what people thought' and all of these messages about 'Daniel sucks he'll never be good' and 'man he's overrated.' How can someone be overrated on their first fuckin' fight? He didn't even train for that fight. Then we got out there and started training and all of a sudden 'Daniel's serious now' and all that shit. Of course he's serious, he's training at the camp, AKA and that's what happens. Batista. People saying Batista sucks... It would've sucked if Batista called off the fight, but you know what? He trained, he took his lumps and worked from the bottom trying to work his way to the top. And he fought a dude who had forty fucking fights in his first fight! Respect the man he's 43-years-old! Herschal Walker, same thing. They weren't forced to fight, they chose to. Respect the man. They make good money but they fought because it was a passion. We do it for fighting, we do it for money, and we do it because we have the passion. I love fighting, I love to fight, I also love coaching. I mean, I love watching fights, I love watching people win, lose, make mistakes and I love watching people capitalize on those mistakes. I love the sport and whatever comes with it, I just don't like the disrespect, there's no need to disrespect when we're out there bustin' our ass. If it's so easy, go put some gloves and go fight. If fighting is so easy and anyone can these days, then go get a fight. In fact, anyone out there who doesn't like me, who thinks I'm disrespectful to the fans in this article, go get a fight. I will come corner you in your fight if you take one.
What do you think then about Chael Vs. Bones?
Hey, Chael got it. I don't even care that much because I'm in Bellator. I care to see Jones get paid, I care to see him get respected and man, I don't even know Jon Jones that well. I don't know him. He's not my boy, he's not my dog, my dog's Rashad. So whatever happens I wish him the best. But when he turned down that fight against Chael the first time, I respected that. That's his choice as the champ. If it were that easy to go out and fight anybody anytime and anywhere then everybody would be fighting, but it's not that easy with training camps and you have training for certain things. People should respect Rashad Evans, Rashad is my boy, Rashad man, he is a consummate pro. Chael Sonnen has been fighting for a long ass time. Respect him.
As someone with a wrestling base, what do you think of Phil Davis' rise through UFC? Rashad dominated but...
Yeah, dog - it's all about matchups. It's all about who you fight and when you fight em and matchups. I know Rashad's a bad matchup for Phil because Phil is just a baby in this sport, like me. Rashad is like going against this prom, dude. What people need to figure out is that MMA is a marathon, not a sprint. Look at Overeem. If I would've told you that Overeem was going to be the fucking man at heavyweight in 7-8 years just wait and see you would've been like 'what, the guy who got knocked out at 205?' People would laugh. Yeah the Overeem that got knocked out at 205. People don't see the fucking marathon. It's a God damn marathon and you have to pick when to sprint. Brock Lesnar sprinted and that's why his career was short. If he took time to build up, it would've been better.
You think so?
I think so, yep.
What are your thoughts on Bellator's tournament format?
Let me ask you this: in the NFL is there a tournament?
Exactly, and the NBA and Major League Baseball.
Every true sport has it's form of the tournament. Same thing with wrestling and the fuckin' Olympics...It's all a tournament. Every sport. So Bellator is like: if I win I get the championship belt. With other organizations it's more on how you look when you win. Win a fight and look spectacular. For some people the tournament would work. Hey how about this. If the UFC had a tournament Jon Fitch would fought to the top of the bill at least six times. Who knows if he would've won but what I'm saying is with all those wins, you know?
You know, there's Melvin Guillard and Donald Cerrone who just don't get their just dues right away.
Look ahead for me and tell me what you think your athletic future will be. Will you keep wrestling after MMA, or is this just a part-time thing?
It depends on me. Man, if I get bored I just stop things...Like wrestling, I love wrestling but I got bored with it. MMA, I've been training and I enjoy training and I really enjoy wrestling training. If it gets to the point where I don't enjoy the training, then that's when I will stop doing it. Floyd Mayweather, when Floyd first retired he went to the gym and got on the treadmill and said 'fuck this' and that was it. Stopped doing it.
Did you watch the debates? What does King Mo have to say about Decision 2012?
Vote for whoever feels right for you, whoever you think will help your cause more. But man, when you're president you have big shoes to fill. You can't please everybody. You can't please the rich or you definitely aren't pleasing the poor. Please the poor and then you aren't pleasing the rich then someone in between gets fucked on both sides, the middle-class.
Well thanks man, it's always a pleasure talking to you...
Yeah man, let me just say this just so you know. Y'all don't have to respect me. Don't respect me, but when we are face to face, you won't say shit. But to all my cohorts out there and are fighting in the other organizations like UFC and Strikeforce and ONE FC and Road and Resurrection and Legacy and Invicta and World Series of Fighting. Show those motherfuckers some respect they are out there putting it on the line and they are out there doing it. It ain't easy. Show them respect.