King Mo’s appearance on MMA Uncensored in the wake of his Bellator/TNA signing pushed the show to a record rating. The weekly news magazine show brought in 567,000 viewers, beating the previous record of 547,000 attained in the February series premiere. The show had an average of 489,000 viewers per week before last night. TNA President Dixie Carter also appeared live on the show with King Mo.
Here is a full transcript of the King Mo/Dixie Carter/TNA/Bellator conference call on Thursday:
Moderator: David Schwarz
May 10, 2012
1:00 pm CT
Operator: Good day to everyone and welcome to the Bellator and TNA Joint Conference call. Today’s call is being recorded.
At this time for opening remarks and introductions, I’d like to turn things over to Mr. David Schwarz from Spike TV. Please go ahead.
David Schwarz: Thank you so much. Hi everybody. It’s a truly historic day here at Spike TV. Bellator and TNA – very exciting announcement. Before I get into that there’s a couple of quick housekeeping things.
A transcript will be available of the call. Just shoot me an email. We’ll have that by early tomorrow morning so in case you miss anything, and you don’t want to miss anything on this call, it will be available first thing in the morning tomorrow. I would like to now turn the call over to Kevin Kay, President of Spike TV.
Kevin Kay: Thanks Dave. I just want to welcome Bjorn Rebney, Chairman and CEO of Bellator Fighting Championships, Dixie Carter who is the President of TNA Entertainment, and our special guest and new member of both Bellator and TNA Wrestling, King Mo.
We’re really excited to have our – all these people in the room, particularly King Mo of course. And just wanted to explain that King Mo is going to join TNA this summer, and then he will join Bellator next year when Bellator moves to Spike.
This is a deal that I’m really happy about and really, really pleased with. I think that Spike is uniquely positioned to make a deal like this, because we were able to take two great franchises and two great people, Bjorn and Dixie, and kind of put them together, let them put their heads together and figure out how to make this happen.
And I think we’re kind of uniquely positioned to offer an opportunity to Mo, because he’s a tremendous personality, a great MMA fighter, a world-class athlete and he loves professional wrestling and that’s why this deal really made sense.
And so we’re excited and we’re always going to be in the business of offering opportunities to fighters, you know, that we can put our businesses together and kind of find unique ways to bring really talented fighters into the house. So with that said I’m going to turn it over to Bjorn.
Bjorn Rebney: Thanks Kevin. I think is excited is the key word. I’m excited and I count myself as fortunate. I’m fortunate because I’m partnering with leaders. I’m partnering with the innovators.
The gentleman sitting over to my right is the top most accomplished executive in the history of mixed martial arts television. The lady that is sitting – and that’s Kevin Kay.
The lady sitting to my left is really the prime driving force innovator in the wrestling entertainment arena. And I’m sitting across the table from a gentleman who is a spectacular athlete, a tremendous personality that really transcends sports.
And he’s the first guy that’s going to look to conquer both of these realms in the sports entertainment arena simultaneously. It’s a first of its kind opportunity.
As Dixie and I had talked about many times and then Kevin’s entire team here, it took the right kind of personality. It took the right person to put this together, somebody who had a love as Kevin said for wrestling who was a world-class elite level mixed martial artist, and who had the wherewithal and the track record and the history to be able to pull this all together and play in both realms at the same time at a world-class elite level.
So very exciting to be – to have been able to do this, and simultaneously to do it underneath the Spike banner who really wrote the book on mixed martial arts programming, have pushed the envelope and created wrestling programming, the likes of which has never yet – has never before been seen in the world and a family environment and an environment where there’s real cooperation between the parties who will impact Bellator Spike are working hand in hand with Mo, and trying to figure out how to put this together, how to make it something really special, how to give somebody an opportunity to do both of these things at once under one umbrella who really wrote the book.
So very exciting and I can’t wait to see this. As a fan taking my CEO hat off I can’t wait to see this all unfold over the next year under the Spike banner. So with that I will turn it over to Dixie Carter.
Dixie Carter: Thank you Bjorn. I’m very excited as well. I’ve been pretty vocal the last few years about wanting to find an opportunity like this for somebody to have tremendous success both in the professional wrestling world who also was an accomplished fighter, have had conversations with people who I don’t believe ever got the big potential vision of it.
And when I met Bjorn it was – from the very first time we met we clicked. We saw what we could do if we worked together. I can’t say enough good things about Kevin Kay.
What he’s done to support our brand, to help grow our franchise and, you know, like Bjorn said I don’t think there is a – there’s not a better network nor a better leader to build an MMA brand than Kevin.
And, you know, when Bjorn and I talked to Kevin, you know, it was – that was kind of the third part of what we needed to, you know, accomplish to make sure we were all on the same page.
Then it was just a matter of finding the right talent. When Mo became available – to have somebody with the kind of unbelievable, you know, wrestling credentials that he has, his personality is off the charts and, you know, to talk to him about his passion for professional wrestling and some of the big guys that work for us such as Sting and Hulk Hogan, you know, I’m looking at him now and he’s got a big old smile on his face.
I mean, he’s excited so it’s a pretty formidable group at this table and we’re excited to accomplish big things with this man who I will introduce right now to you, King Mo. Welcome King.
Muhammed Lawal: Well this is a dream come true, you know, for me. I don’t know, I mean, I’m pretty much speechless because now, you know, I’ve been thinking about it.
Had a hard time sleeping and now I’m – I came to the realization that I get to knock people out in the cage and hit people with chairs in the ring. So both ways I’m winning, you know, and let’s get this whole thing going now.
I’m ready for, you know, what, you know, what the future has to offer. And it’s looking bright right now and it’s going to be bright throughout the whole riding ordeal.
David Schwarz: All right, let’s open it up for questions.
Operator: Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, at this time if you would like to ask a question, please press star 1 on your touch-tone phone. If you’re using a speakerphone, please make sure that your mute function is turned off to allow your signal to reach our equipment. Again star 1 for any questions at this time. And we’ll pause for just one moment.
We’ll go first to Dave Meltzer with Wrestling Observer.
Dave Meltzer: Hey, I’ve got kind of questions for everyone, but Mo I just want to congratulate you on the deal. But what kind of plans do you have as far as – for Mo as far as like training, and how much training have you done for pro wrestling?
I know you’ve been thinking about this your whole life, but have you done a lot of training and how long before – and this is sort of for Dixie as well. How long before you kind of – we kind of see him on television and figure we can get him in the ring?
Dixie Carter: You want to answer?
Muhammed Lawal: Well my experience – really I’m not that experienced just yet. I’ve studied it, watched it, had a WWE tryout and I – when I went to OVW. And I was there for a week and I got a chance to work with Tom Pritchard, and I learned a lot from there and I actually still remember a lot from there.
And I watched, you know, guys like Scotty 2 Hotty The Worm and worked with Mark Henry and John Morrison out there. So, you know, I picked up things to do and I watched guys that were terrible like Nathan Jones.
Not to bash him but, you know, he’s awful. You know, he’s hurting people in there and I know what to do and I know what not to do. So – and I’m open to learning.
Dixie Carter: Well I think for us we’re, you know, he’s committed to training and doing what it takes. He’s going to spend some time at OVW. Our top talent are committed to working with him and bringing him along.
You know, we have the only, you know, Olympic gold medalist in wrestling, Kurt Angle, who has made the biggest jump to professional wrestling who is very excited about him.
Everybody really is so I think, you know, it’ll be a combination of time at OVW, time working with our guys on the road and I know he’s very, very committed to it so it’ll be great.
Dave Meltzer: Now in – going forward to next year I would presume that, you know, Mo would probably want to — and maybe I’m wrong and I spoke kind of for Bjorn and Mo — enter like a light heavyweight tournament and get a shot at the championship there.
You know, if he’s going to be doing three fights in three months and then lead into a championship match, how much professional wrestling would you be able to do?
I mean, would you have to take three months off or would – what’s kind of like your mentality going forward? And also for Mo how is your knee doing right now?
Muhammed Lawal: Well as far as the tournament I will enter the tournament and I’ll win the tournament and I’m going to get that belt. You know, that’s what I’m going to do.
And as far as everything my knee’s healing up – doing rehab. And as far as, you know, as far as the whole wrestling or fighting I’m – whatever, you know, Dixie and Bjorn is open to do I’m – I’ll do.
You know, I’m not, you know, I’m a workhorse. Whatever, you know, whatever needs to be done I’m down to do.
Dave Meltzer: And do you have a time period like when you’re going to go to Louisville? Are you going soon or are you going in like two months, or do you kind of know?
Muhammed Lawal: Not at the moment but when I find out I’ll shoot you an email.
Dave Meltzer: Okay cool. All right.
Operator: We’ll take our next question from Dann Stupp with mmajunkie.com.
Dann Stupp: I had a question for Bjorn. For whatever reason obviously some MMA fans – they have been unhappy when fighters such as Brock Lesnar are associated with pro wrestling. Did those feelings play into your decision at all or is it just something you ignored?
Bjorn Rebney: No. It’s just, you know, Dann you and I talked about it a bunch of times. I mean, I look at our MMA fan base. I mean, you know, it – the demo that follows mixed martial arts that watch it on Spike network, I mean, it’s an evolved, technologically savvy demo that lives online and is following everything on Twitter and is getting information in bytes that are happening in the second.
And I have an amazing amount of trust in the MMA fan base because I’m one of them. I mean, I’m a hard core, and in their ability to realize what mixed martial arts is and realize what professional wrestling is, and understand that we found a guy in Mo who’s able to transcend, you know, both of those different environments simultaneously, who’s able to play in both of them.
And I think when fans see what’s going to come out vis-à-vis Spike, and when they see what Mo’s going to do at IMPACT and what Mo’s going to do at Bellator, and the fact that it’s going to happen at the same time.
It’s not going to be divorcing himself from one career and moving into another, and then moving out of that career back into another. It’s going to be simultaneous.
I mean, first there was Bo and now there’s Mo. So, you know, it’s an opportunity for somebody to really, you know, to step up and to do two things at the same time.
You’re talking about a world-class athlete who is a wrestler, and you’ve seen the kind of success we’ve had with wrestlers whether it be, you know, the Warrens or whether it be the Askrens or whether it be the Cole Konrads or whether it be the Chandlers, they’re used to going all the time.
This is, you know, a lot of fighters you go to and you say, “Three fights in three months,” and they look at you and they go, “That’s a lot of fights.” I said, “Mo, three fights in three months,” and he was like, “Could we get busier?”
So, you know, I think it’s going to work beautifully and I think that he’s going to be able to transcend and jump from one to another. He’s going to get a lot of frequent flier miles and when this all stops in about four years, he can take his family anywhere they want to go.
Dann Stupp: Great. And then a quick question for Mo. Dana White had recently hinted that the door could be opened for you to come back to Strikeforce or even the UFC. Did that factor into your decision at all or was this just a much better deal in your eyes?
Muhammed Lawal: Well let’s put it like this. The door’s closed, you know what I’m saying? That’s – it’s plain and simple. The door is closed man. You know, it’s like this.
I’m not going to wait for nobody, you know. If someone comes to me with something that makes sense and it’s good and a great deal, I’m going to take the best deal.
And right now, the Bellator deal is the best deal you could possibly get, you know what I’m saying? Bellator and Impact Wrestling – that’s the best deal you could possibly get and I’m glad I chose it.
Dann Stupp: Great. Thank you guys.
Dixie Carter: Thank you.
Operator: We’ll go next to Sergio Non with USA Today.
Sergio Non: …you all for taking the time today. The first question’s for King Mo, sort of a follow up on what Dann Stupp was just asking. You mentioned that this was the best offer on the table.
Bjorn Rebney: Sergio you broke up for a second there.
Sergio Non: This is for King Mo. I guess I’m wondering why wait – why not wait to see if other organizations might be interested? Was there a compelling reason that you had to do a deal now or…?
Muhammed Lawal: What’s your name again?
Sergio Non: Sergio Non.
Muhammed Lawal: Sergio, Sergio, okay. You know, let’s be real man. There’s only about two organizations out there. You got Zuffa and you got Bellator, you know. What’s there to wait for, you know?
I could’ve waited for Zuffa to take me back in September, or I could take what Bellator and IMPACT Wrestling had offered. And really, you know, think about this.
You’re – you have someone that says that you – they’ll be around, and I hit you up. And then you got people that hit you up with Hulk Hogan, you know, Sting, you know, Dixie, Bjorn, you know, Kevin.
They’re all calling me and I’m going to – I want to go with where I’m wanted. And if, you know, I’m not going to wait and – like a female waiting for some type of date. That’s not me, you know.
Sergio Non: Fair enough. And the question for Dixie, you know, are there any concerns that you might have to limit what you’re able to do with Mo because of his MMA work?
Like with Bobby Lashley as I recall, he just – he ultimately couldn’t really balance doing both MMA and pro wrestling. What makes you confident that you’ll be able to do it this time?
Dixie Carter: Well we never tried anything with Bobby. He did a short stint with us on IMPACT but we were not working, you know, within the MMA world that – at that time.
But with Mo I think it’ll be more my concern for him not pushing it too hard to be honest with you, based on the conversation I’ve had with him. I’m not worried that I won’t get enough.
I’m worried that he’s going to want too much, and so I really don’t have any concerns about it. He’s – he is such an incredible athlete. When you really hear about how he trains, the kind of physical condition he stays in, I think it’ll be great for him to stay, you know, in shape and focused on both at both times.
And I don’t think quite honestly – I don’t know if there’s another athlete out there and if there are there’s not but a handful that I think could potentially even pull this off. It’s – he’s a rare case.
Sergio Non: And I guess sort of the same question for Bjorn. When I think of for instance like Joe Warren, it didn’t really work out for him ultimately trying to do both MMA and the Olympic trials at the same time.
How do you alleviate any concerns you might have about Mo being stretched too thin?
Bjorn Rebney: Well, see that’s the magic of the synergy that exists underneath the Spike umbrella. That’s – this is the first of a lot of different kind of synergistic pieces of the business that we’re going to put into play.
And what it allows us to do is, you know, with all due respect to the U.S. Olympic Committee they don’t work under the Spike umbrella with Bellator. But when you’ve got one family at Viacom, one umbrella that’s really written the book in the MMA space and has created like I said – pushed the boundaries in terms of professional wrestling and developing incredible programming there with IMPACT, we’re all sitting in one room.
Literally Kevin and Dixie and I are sitting together orchestrating how this will work, and we’re working with Mo as a partner of ours, not as an employee but as somebody sitting down with us and saying, “Okay, how can we make this work?
How can we maximize it? When are the timeframes going to be – need to be more heavily focused on Mo’s prep for a fight he’s got coming up in the Bellator cage on Spike?
And when is Mo going to need to be more focused for what’s he’s going to do with IMPACT with Hulk and Sting and Kurt and others?” So it’s about that continuity and it’s about having a complete open door to communication and all of us focused on the bigger goal, which is building Mo and building the King Mo brand.
Dixie Carter: And I think to echo that we’re going to be playing out and, you know, the real life role, his dual role on our show as well. So as he’s prepping for a fight a lot of that will be covered within the show, so it’s not as if he’s going to live two distinct worlds. You know, we have every intention of blending those two together.
Sergio Non: And actually just one other question that just came up. I don’t suppose Mo you’ve decided what you’re finishing move will be yet.
Muhammed Lawal: I’m still, you know, still thinking about that. You know, I’ll reveal the name later but I’m still, you know, a lot of possibilities. I’m even trying to make one up myself, you know.
Sergio Non: All right, thank you.
Operator: We’ll go next to Ariel Helwani with mmafighting.com.
Ariel Helwani: Thank you King Mo. Why you laughing Mo?
Muhammed Lawal: That wasn’t me laughing. That was somebody else.
Ariel Helwani: Oh okay. I got a few questions for you Mo. First off you said that this was the best deal. And you made – according to the Nevada State Athletic Commission you made $95,000 in your last fight with the win bonus, which is pretty good for Strikeforce and even Zuffa in general.
So can you tell us how this deal is better than the deal that you had with Zuffa?
Muhammed Lawal: Well it’s like this. It’s a better deal; let me put it like that. I can’t go into the particulars but I’m just telling you this. It’s a better deal in the long run. I’m going to be on Spike TV dog, you know.
It’s not – and that’s not Showtime because I like Showtime. They were cool but Spike TV is bigger than Showtime, so I’m going to be in – I’m going to be seen by more people. So I think that in the long run that’s the better deal.
Ariel Helwani: And how long is the deal for?
Muhammed Lawal: For a long time, you know. I don’t know how many years but it’s for a long time, you know what I’m saying, so I’ll probably be having some gray hair by the time I’m done, in my beard that is.
Ariel Helwani: Right. And just curious, did Strikeforce or the UFC try to counter this offer, or did they even know that you were going to sign with Bellator and TNA before you did sign the contract?
Muhammed Lawal: They knew but if – and we could tell you more about that whole thing. You need to call Mike Hogan and you know his number: 408-583-7220.
Ariel Helwani: I don’t know. All right. And just curious, just knowing you and how much you love pro wrestling, I’m wondering which organization are you most excited about debuting in, TNA or Bellator?
Muhammed Lawal: Hey, both equally, you know what I’m saying. I, you know, because like I said earlier I love knocking people out, especially with the right hand, but I’ve never hit somebody with a chair before so I’m looking forward to doing that as well. So I feel sorry for who that victim is. They get hit pretty hard.
Ariel Helwani: And just one last one for you Mo. You know, you’ve obviously had a longstanding beef with Rampage Jackson. It looks like his UFC career is coming to an end.
Are you going to try to convince Bjorn and Spike to sign him so you can fight him in Bellator?
Muhammed Lawal: If he wants to fight or he can sign with IMPACT Wrestling and we could do a match there. You know, it’s whatever. I – you can talk to Rampage. I really don’t know what he’s going to do and, you know, it’s whatever.
But I just know this. King Mo is with Bellator and IMPACT Wrestling and that’s the way it is.
Ariel Helwani: Okay, and just two quick ones for Kevin if I may. Bjorn said that there’s going to be more sort of synergy between TNA and Bellator in the future in I’m guessing 2013 when Bellator moves over. Can you give us a hint as to what kind of synergy we’ll be seeing?
Kevin Kay: Well I think you’ll see – obviously you’re going to see a lot of promotion back and forth between the two brands. I think we’ll always be looking for, you know, fighters or wrestlers who, you know, want to go from one brand to the other in a similar fashion to what Mo is doing.
And, you know, if that makes sense we’ll definitely look at it. And, you know, and the other part of that Ariel is that, you know, we’re looking at not just, you know, Bellator and TNA but also like what other opportunities there are for, you know, for fighters to come to Bellator or to TNA offering them different things, you know, under our umbrella whether it’s, you know, video games or, you know, development and – of their careers in different ways.
So, you know, we’re going to use every resource that we have to sign the best fighters that we can get and the best wrestlers.
Ariel Helwani: And my last one for you Kevin would be, you know, given the similarities in the demographic and the audience, and now you have a fighter that will be, you know, appearing on both brands and both shows, does this mean next year that we’ll be seeing Bellator maybe on the same night as TNA? Will they be sort of coupled together?
Kevin Kay: Don’t know yet. You know, we – we’re still looking at like what night is right and, you know, what you’ll see is, you know, TNA’s going to be on Thursday at 8 o’clock.
May 31 we’re moving to 8 o’clock. That’s a big decision and it’s because there’s more of an available audience there, and because we want to get out of the way of football when it comes in the fall.
And we want to establish a beachhead for TNA at 8 o’clock and I think it’s a really smart move. You know, right now Bellator’s on Friday nights on MTV2 as you know and, you know, we’re going to just continually assess the situation until we get a little closer and then make a decision.
And the other thing I just wanted to point out is, you know, just say about this deal is that one of the things I love about is because Mo’s on both franchises, you know, he will be on Spike all the time.
I mean, that is literally like, you know, 40, 45, 50 weeks a year Mo’s on Spike. He’s on IMPACT when he’s not on Bellator. He’s on Bellator when he’s not on IMPACT and we have a lot of other plans to promote him and do – and use the power of Spike and Spike brand, you know, to promote his brand.
So, you know, I don’t know that there’s a fighter out there in all of MMA or a wrestler out there – well actually TNA’s on 52 weeks a year. But I don’t think that there’s another MMA fighter out there that’s going to get this kind of exposure. I’m sure of it actually.
Ariel Helwani: Right. Thanks guys and congrats Mo.
Muhammed Lawal: Thanks. Thanks.
Operator: We’ll take our next question from Ken Pishna with mmaweekly.com.
Ken Pishna: Hi guys. Bjorn, I had a question for you about – have you – do you have any other fighters that have expressed interest in doing the same sort of deal that Mo has, or have you fielded that with anybody besides Mo?
Bjorn Rebney: You know, it’s – that’s a great question. I mean, a lot of – Dixie and I have had this conversation now for some time, and it just – like we talked about when we kicked this off it takes a real special fit to do this, because in order for it to really work and work well the fighter’s got to be a world-class fighter in mixed martial arts.
And, you know, and have to have the ability based on a wrestling background and a personality to transcend and be able to, you know, kind of achieve excellence inside the IMPACT ring as well.
So it’s not something for everyone and Mo is that very, very unique fit. I mean, I think if any of us look back a year ago or a year and a half ago and you would’ve been sitting around the table with MMA fans that knew wrestling and said, “Who’s the one guy who could conceptually do this?
Who’s the one personality that we know out there in this space who could do this?” you know, the first guy to come to your lips would be King Mo. So it – while there have been some people that have expressed interest, I mean, you know, we had Joe Warren on IMPACT doing commentary and having fun not that long ago.
But in terms of a guy to really be able to live in both realms and to be able to potentially be a king to rule both realms, this is the guy.
Dixie Carter: It was asked earlier too about, you know, how would MMA fans take this. And I think for a long time I was – the talk was for me to have a wrestler that would go and start fighting.
But I think the reason this is going to be successful is Mo has already established himself as one of the top fighters in the MMA world. You know, there’s no questioning that.
And so he’ll make the transition to our world versus taking somebody from our world and making that transition as the first person to ever conquer this. So I think that it’s so legit from where he stands from the MMA world. I just think it’s perfect.
Ken Pishna: Yes. I know both of these guys are currently under contract elsewhere, but guys like Quinton Jackson come to mind and Josh Barnett who are both fighters who, you know, Quinton’s obviously going to – he says he’s going to be leaving the UFC as soon as his contract is up.
And, you know, Josh Barnett is a guy who’s played both the MMA world and the pro wrestling world before. Are fighters like that guy that if they become available you would pursue?
Bjorn Rebney: No. I mean, look. I think our focus is really…
Dixie Carter: King Mo.
Bjorn Rebney: …King Mo. I mean, look. It’s just – it’s like we said. It’s – there was a lot of concentration that went into this because as Dixie said, you know, Bellator stands for a certain level of purity and a certain level of objectivity in the MMA world.
You know, you earn your title shots here. There’s no theatrics behind it. There’s no, you know, wizard behind a curtain deciding who fights who for what and when based on how we think we can sell pay-per-views or the like.
It’s literally completely objective real sport so to integrate somebody into both of those worlds, like Dixie said you had to find somebody who had world-class ability as a mixed martial artist and transition them into the professional wrestling world.
And it just so happened we found somebody who, you know, used to watch Sting 15 years ago wrestle and was a die hard fan of the sport, and can quote you events that happened that are from organizations that don’t even exist anymore, so that’s where it really came from. So our focus is, you know, is King Mo and King Mo and King Mo.
Ken Pishna: And then one quick question for Mo. Do you have any concerns? I mean, obviously you’ve overcome a lot of the concerns if you have them but are – is there a concern from your perspective of how to train properly for fights and wrestling at the same time because, you know, most guys that are training that are just mixed martial artists are training every day, you know, five, six days a week just to be successful in that realm? Do you – how hard do you think it’s going to be balance both of them?
Muhammed Lawal: I don’t think it’s going to be that hard at all because, you know, you got some guys like – that do other things as well as train MMA. And on top of that it’s not like when I go to – when I go travel I can’t bring a coach with me to hold mitts for me or bring a Jujitsu guy to grapple with after I’m done doing what I got to do. You know, it’s not that hard at all. I’ll make it work.
Dixie Carter: Well can I say it’s going to be hard but you have the ability to do it.
Muhammed Lawal: Yes. Yes.
Dixie Carter: Not everybody could say that.
Muhammed Lawal: You know, I want to do this so that’s why to me, you know, I’m ready.
Ken Pishna: Do you think – having talked to some of the wrestlers out there, do you think there’s enough of those guys that have the interest in mixed martial arts that you can use some of them as training partners when you’re out on the road?
Muhammed Lawal: I guess I’ll find out, you know. I know some guys that are interested in it, you know, but the thing is that they just don’t have the background or the skill level to do it.
So, you know, we’ll – I guess we’ll see because maybe I could teach some guys a few things here and there and then we can train. I don’t know. We’ll find out.
Ken Pishna: Okay thanks guys.
Operator: We’ll take our next question from Matthew Roth with Bleacher Report.
Matthew Roth: Yes, this question is actually for Kevin. Kevin, is Mo’s deal with Spike TV or does he have a dual role contract with TNA and with Bellator?
Kevin Kay: Yes, it’s with Bellator and TNA, not Spike.
Matthew Roth: Okay thank you.
Operator: We’ll go next to Mike Johnson with pwinsider.com.
Mike Johnson: How you all doing?
Dixie Carter: Hi Mike.
Bjorn Rebney: Good.
Mike Johnson: Good. A couple of questions. Mo’s currently serving the suspension with the Nevada State Commission. Is there any concern about putting him in the ring within TNA before that suspension is up?
Has that been any topic of discussion and do you think there’ll be an issue with the Commission if he’s doing pro wrestling before the suspension is up in October?
Dixie Carter: No. Oh go ahead Bjorn. Sorry.
Bjorn Rebney: No. It is and, I mean, I think our primary concern right now is I think, you know, anybody that’s been tracking Mo and his career our primary concern right now is the rehabilitation of his name.
I mean, Mo went through a knee surgery followed as most of us know by a catastrophic staph infection that could very well have taken his life. I mean, in – what he’s overcome and the transition that he’s gone through, and the kind of travails he’s had to deal with over the last number of months have been pretty substantial.
So like our first and foremost concern right now is Mo’s back. He – walking around he’s feeling good. He’s back in full-time rehab. We pulled him out of it obviously to come to New York and do this, but that’s our first and foremost concern is the rehabilitation to get Mo back to 110%.
And then the timing of the launch on IMPACT and the timing of the launch from our perspective inside of our MMA cage at Bellator, that’ll all come when it will come. But really the focal point right now is rehabbing him 110%.
Mike Johnson: Okay, had a question for Kevin specifically. You talked about the synergy between these two companies. IMPACT’s going to be changing their time slot I think again at the end of the month.
Is it possible we’ll be looking at maybe a double shot of IMPACT followed by Bellator at some point, or maybe a co-promoted special where there’s MMA fights and pro wrestling bouts incorporating the TNA storyline and also from the Bellator one?
Kevin Kay: You know, I don’t think you’re going to see the mixture of a co-promoted, you know, we’re going to keep the two brands separate but we will promote back and forth between the two brands.
So, you know, and in terms of the, you know, the time slot, you know, as I said before we’re just not there yet in terms of what we’re thinking. You know, we are literally assessing the landscape and we will make the best decision for Bellator about where it should be.
It’s a conversation Bjorn and I have like once a week and probably will have once a week, every week from now until, you know, we make that decision together.
But, you know, we’re – we’ll do whatever is best for the brand and, you know, put on great fights on the right night and where we can get the most ratings and the most fannies in the seats.
Mike Johnson: Right. And one final question. A couple of the other writers talked about potential fighters who could do both TNA and Bellator, however there’s a wrestler out there who’s not active right now.
And Dave Batista who’s got huge name value, marquee value – he’s headlined Wrestlemania and he’s also expressed a lot of interest in doing MMA.
Is that – is it possible he could be on your radar for signing down the line, similar to the King Mo situation?
Dixie Carter: Dave’s a great talent, you know, a great wrestling talent. I’ll – that’s all I can speak to, you know, speak to. But again like we said, I mean, our sole focus right now, I mean, I know there’s probably going to be a lot of people out there today wishing that this was them.
I mean, this is a great opportunity to be honest. But one reason it is such a great opportunity is that this is our focus right now and, you know, to make sure that King Mo comes out in the biggest way for us and in the MMA world.
Mike Johnson: And one last question for Mo. In the past guys like Brock Lesnar have dealt with a lot of backlash from MMA fans for even being a former wrestler going into MMA.
What sort of backlash do you think you’re going to get from some of the fans, dabbling in pro wrestling at the same time you’re doing MMA, and what’s your message to them?
Muhammed Lawal: Well really I’ll be honest with you. I don’t care. And if they’re really fans of me and Bellator and IMPACT Wrestling they wouldn’t mind. So, you know, that’s their loss if they wanted to complain about something that is actually good for everybody. You know, that’s their loss.
Mike Johnson: All right, fair enough. Thank you all for your time.
Dixie Carter: Thanks Mike.
Kevin Kay: Thanks.
Operator: We’ll go now to Steven Muehlhausen with bleacherreport.com.
Steven Muehlhausen: Thank you guys for the time today, and Mo congratulations as always my friend. But you back it and getting to do what you want to do, and I’ll start with you Mo.
How big of a dream was this for you? I remember talking to you in the past and you said, “I’ve always wanted to be in professional wrestling.” Do you feel like that you’re living a lifelong dream?
Muhammed Lawal: Man, you know what? I, you know, it’s a dream come true man. It’s like – it was a big dream and, you know, I thought I lost it when I turned my WWE contract – I turned it down.
And now it circled back around and I’m excited, you know, and I had to jump on it. I can’t turn something like this down and I refuse to, and I took it and I’m happy with it. I’m excited. I can’t wait.
Steven Muehlhausen: And to follow up Mo, regarding – and so what do you think of their light heavyweight division?
Muhammed Lawal: You know, hey, it’s like this. They got talent there. Anybody can be beat. Christian M’Pumbu has good Jujitsu. He has good standup and he’s shown he has skill. He’s been around for a while.
Travis Wiuff, you know, I beat him in the past but now he’s probably looking to get revenge on me, and he did beat – defeat Christian M’Pumbu and he got the Hale kid.
He’s pretty talented. He defeated my friend Nik Fekete. I’m, you know, anybody can get beat so I’m going there, you know, 100% and focused and I’m going to win the tournament.
So, you know, hopefully, you know, the 205 division will end up like the 135 division, 145, 155 and even, you know, 205 with me. Hopefully I could take it to (Holgerson Webb) like, you know, Dantas and Askren and, you know, Cole Konrad and other wrestlers did, you know what I’m saying.
So I’m just, you know, I’m not worried about who’s there. I’m just worried about me taking care of business.
Steven Muehlhausen: And Bjorn, you know, signing Mo today is a big signing for you guys. Does this feel now that you guys are on MMA because you always you said you wanted Mo but then the other core model and you’re bringing Italian guy in outside of that model. Does this mean you’re going to keep bringing in more big name guys like this or – and does this also indicate that maybe you’re not going to find ((inaudible)).
Male: You know, it – we talked about it in the past. We’re – you know, we’re not an organization that plants a flag in the ground and defends it in kind of a Custer-like defense. You know, we don’t set the bar somewhere and say we’re never going to deviate from it.
So really what it comes down to is Mo was perfect for this situation and I’ve seen Mo fight a number of times. You know, I mean, I saw Mo’s first fight against (Travis View) when he came out and (Travis) had 66 professional fights and Mo had never had a professional mixed martial arts fight and early in the first round he through a Superman punch and put (Travis) to sleep.
So it – you know, I mean, there are moments in time that you look at as a hardcore MMA fan. I mean, not a lot of people, like, pay attention or did at that point to the Japanese MMA scene, but when you see that kind of character come out with a purple robe and a crown on his head and, you know, a microphone was put in front of his face before the fight and he was asked, “What are you most nervous about,” and his answer was, “I’m most nervous that the girls I’m walking out with are hot.”
You think to yourself, this is a character. This is a guy who you can do crazy things with and it could really have an impact on a promotion. And we just – we’ve got the synergies to make it work. So, I mean, that’s – you know, that is the focal point and the impact that it has on the signing of other fighters that are big names will be based on that same kind of analysis.
It’ll be based on this team that I’m blessed to have with me based on (sitting out) with (Kevin Kay) and our partners at Spike and where there might be a fit sitting down with Dixie and saying, “Does this make sense?” And of all the situations that could’ve made sense, this was the one that just jumped off the page.
So whether it’s just Bellator or some kind of integration like this, we’ll just look at it on a one-off basis and sometimes we’ll make these jumps and sometimes we won’t.
Male: And (as far as you wanting) Mo and, you know, Mo, you fought as heavyweight before and will there be any consideration to put you at heavyweight since, you know, there are (significant) heavyweights in there?
King Mo: Well, you know, really I have no weight class. I’m a money weight. So wherever the money’s at, that’s where I’m fighting at. So if they want to (find) me a heavyweight, hey, anyway ((inaudible)) can make weight at is the weight ((inaudible)) fight at. So, you know, Bellator is interested in putting me in the heavyweight tournament, I’ll jump in and fight those big guys, too, and knock them out. I’m about knockouts.
Male: And for Dixie and ((inaudible)), you said you wanted to get him in there starting in the summer. Is there more a better timeline for the ((inaudible)) can anticipate when we can see Mo coming into that?
Dixie Carter: Well, I think the first thing we have to do is get him completely healthy. That’s just the biggest priority for all of us. Once we know, you know, when that will be, we’ll begin his training and bringing him, you know, to the show and letting him get to meet everybody and stat down that path. But I think we’ve got to make sure that he’s 100% healthy and ready to go before we get started.
Male: Well, when do you think – final question for Mo. Mo, when do you think you will be ready to get ((inaudible))?
King Mo: I’ll find out after my rehab therapy. You know, if I could tell you a certain date then I would but I’ll talk to my rehab therapist and he’ll tell me when I can go and that’s when I’ll go.
Dixie Carter: But we’re thinking you might start training this summer.
King Mo: Yes, yes, this summer, yes, yes.
Male: Congratulations Mo. It’s good to see you live your dream, brother, and ((inaudible)) and congratulations.
Male: Thank you.
Dixie Carter: Thank you so much.
Operator: We’ll go next to Mike Chiappetta with Mmafighting.com.
Mike Chiappetta: Hi guys. I was hoping everyone could sort of address this from their perspective. Obviously in a deal like this, it seems like there’re a lot of moving parts involved. And I’m wondering, you know, who first initiated this deal, what was the timeframe when it all went down and how did it all sort of come together?
(Deelan): Hey Mike, It’s (Deelan). You know, it really – it was a matter of Dixie and I having had a series of conversations with Kevin over literally over a year of bouncing the concept and the idea around. But for concern for the credibility of what we do as a brand at Bellator and how it needed to work, again, we needed to find a very, very special fit. We needed to find somebody who completely fit within this realm and then obviously, you know, we tracked – if you’re a fan of MMA, you track King Mo, you’ve seen what he’s done, you’ve seen who he’s beaten and how, you know, how he’s performed.
He’s one of those wrestlers that comes out and while he has the world class wrestling skills, he doesn’t rely on them. He relies on his takedowns to set up his punches and he’s got some crazy power in both hands. So that was really the evolution and then, obviously when he parted ways with his former organization, you know, we’re not in the business of talking to anybody when they are in contract with another organization.
But when he parted ways with his prior group, that’s when we all came together and said, “Hey, this could conceptually be that guy. This could be the guy who could actually fill that spot and could do a great job doing both.” So that’s kind of when it all started in earnest in terms of talking about him as a potential fit.
Dixie Carter: Yes, you called me and I was back stage filming TV and, you know, we bantered around a lot of names but when you said King Mo, I knew right there that’s the one we needed to get.
Mike Chiappetta: And, Kevin, how did you sort of work into it? I guess you have to kind of bring them together? It sounds like they were already kind of on the same page but what about – where does your role fit into this?
Kevin Sullivan: Yes, I mean, look, I’ve always encouraged them to talk and, you know, and to bat ideas back and forth and, you know, it started as, like you know, let’s get some Bellator fighters down to, you know, TNA so that they could impact and they could help promote Bellator.
And let’s, you know, let’s go back and forth between the two brands in terms of promotion and let’s look at people together that could work for us. So, you know, when King Mo’s name came up, there was just no question. You know, I knew that he was a huge professional wrestling fan so that, you know, that made a big difference because, you know, obviously you want somebody who really cares and really wants to be a part of that organization, not just throw somebody in there.
So knowing that Mo was, you know, a huge professional wrestling fan and then finding out later that, like you know, he idolized Sting and Hogan and, you know, had followed professional wrestling, like, not just recently but throughout his whole life, you know, it just made so much sense.
And then, you know, add onto that, like, one of the greatest mixed martial art fighters in the business and he has just a tremendous charm, charisma and personality, so you know, when Dixie and Bjorn brought it to me, I was, like, “Yes, go for it. Let’s do it. Let’s figure this out. Let’s everybody get on the phone, get out there, do whatever we have to do and, you know, and make a deal with Mo and get him to both organizations.”
Mike Chiappetta: Is this deal – essentially is it, you know, signed with Viacom or is it – do you have, like, two separate deals – one with Bellator, one with TNA? How does that work?
Dixie Carter: It’s a separate deal with Bellator and TNA, two separate deals.
Mike Chiappetta: Okay. And, Mo you know, obviously we’ve talked a little about your knee on this call and the fact that you’re still going through physical therapy. Can you kindly give us an update right now on what exactly the health of your knee is?
King Mo: Well, the tubes are out, you know, because the infection’s gone. I’m walking around and I’m doing rehab. You know, before I couldn’t even do rehab because the infection was still around. So I’m moving forward and I’m getting healthy.
Mike Chiappetta: And if you were to say, you know, with a certain percentage of normal health, what would you say?
King Mo: I’m not sure until I start testing it more because I know strength-wise, you know, it feels good but it can always be stronger. But I’ll test it more and I’m going to be doing that with my rehab therapist.
Mike Chiappetta: Okay. And obviously you’ve been a wrestling fan for a long time, what’s kind of your favorite memory growing up, something that you think back to that kind of makes you smile when you think about now the fact that you’re going to be going into ((inaudible)) as well?
King Mo: All right, you know, I hope I don’t offend people, but I remember, you know, I was a big Sting fan and he was facing Rick Flare and the Crash, the champion. And it was on TV and the night before, I was praying, you know – I really didn’t pray but I decided to pray to God and I was, like, “Please, God, if you love me, please let Sting win this match.”
And so I was watching the match and the match ended up, you know, being like a time limit brawl so I was pretty crushed, you know, because Sting didn’t win the belt. And that’s – and I still think about that because I was praying, you know, for my boy, you know, Sting to win and it didn’t come true so I still think about that a lot.
Mike Chaippetta: All right, cool. Thanks a lot guys. I appreciate it. Good luck to you.
Dixie Carter: Thank you so much.
Male: Thank you.
Operator: We’ll go to Matt Bishop with The Detroit News.
Matt Bishop: Hey, first off, question for Bjorn. Bjorn, there were a lot of moving parts, you know, a lot of different people working on this deal. Were you surprised you were able to get this done in, you know, pretty much six weeks after Mo was released from Strikeforce?
Bjorn Rebney: No, I wasn’t but it just – that’s become commonplace in the relationship that we, as a company, have with Spike and with Viacom. We’re really part of that family and one of the cool things about being here underneath this umbrella is that that whole family kind of works in unison. And it’s not a matter of calling somebody and looking for three days to get an appointment to set up to talk to somebody.
Kevin and I talk every single day and we’re texting each other back and forth and we’re sending each other photos of this or that or ideas and clips and, you know, both Impact and Bellator being part of that same family, there was an ease to getting this done that having worked in this business for 25 years, I’ve never seen.
Dixie Carter: We talk about as often too.
Bjorn Rebney: Yes, I mean, there’s a continuity in terms of the people that are existing underneath this umbrella and specifically under these two kind of preeminent sports franchises at Spike, but it wasn’t nearly as tough as you would think. It was literally like working with family and/or friends to try to get something done that you all recognize could be very powerful and very explosive if you could get it done right, and literally just jumping on conference calls.
We’re all in different places. We’re all bouncing all over the country and the world but it was much more – it was much simpler than you would think given the size of Viacom and the size of Spike and Bellator and Impact to get this thing completed. It took a series of phone calls to put the wheels in motion and then it all just started to roll.
Dixie Carter: And it was fun.
Bjorn Rebney: Yes.
Dixie Carter: The whole process has been fun.
Kevin Sullivan: I think, you know, the question really wasn’t, like, how long is it going to take? The question was how do we get this done right now? And I think the three of us asked the three of us that same question. Like, “Dixie, what do you have to do to make your part happen? Bjorn, what do you have to do to make your part happen, Kevin, what do you have to do to make your part happen?” And, you know, we were all on the same page and it was important and when it’s important, it gets done fast.
Matt Bishop: Now, Dixie, obviously this is a very unique situation for your company. Has TNA already been hard at work coming up with ideas for how to use Mo?
Dixie Carter: You know, I’ve actually kept him a secret to almost everybody there so the answer is within the organization, no, but from Mo and I talking, you know, we’ve come up with quite a few ideas and he – I mean, somebody – we asked him about his (finishing move), I mean, the guy’s already named his finishing move. He’s got these (contests).
I mean, he’s really, you know, he’s a student of our sport and, you know, I think he’s going to make the transition very, very quickly. I know that there is, you know, back at our headquarters and with our wrestlers who live in different countries and all over the United States, there’s a lot of excited people today.
And I’m confident our fans will be too, especially when they see him come out, from the very first time he steps out on that stage, he’s going to own it and it’s – they’re going to feel that charisma hit them like a big right-hand punch as soon as he walks out.
Matt Bishop: And lastly, for Kevin, we’ve established that Mo has two separate deals – one with Bellator, one with TNA, is – did Spike kick in any money to get this deal done?
Kevin Sullivan: Well, Spike funds most of this, I mean, is the answer. I mean, if you’re asking did we kick in additional money it’s, like, look, fund both these organizations and so we prove to be…
Kevin Sullivan: I guess you could say that. You know, we proved it and look, I’ve said this before, our job of this fight is to market it. Our job is to build it and it’s not to make fights or tell ((inaudible)) we should do what and when. We don’t do that. What we do is market and I think we’re really good at it and when you look at the opportunity that ((inaudible)) to be marketed because he’s a marketing machine, right, you know, we’re going to have a lot of fun doing this and we are going to make him big and we’re going to put – and make him big in both organizations and that’s where we’ll – that’s actually where we’ll spend the next money which is like marketing King Mo in both these organizations.
Matt Bishop: Thanks everyone.
Male: Thanks Matt.
Dixie Carter: Thanks.
Operator: We’ll go next to Fred Richani with the Sports Courier.
Fred Richani: Okay, this question is for Mo. I was just wondering, without giving anything away, is there anybody in particular in TNA that you would love to work with down the road?
King Mo: The nature boy, Rick Flair. You know, I love Rick Flair. Man, he has style, swag, everything. When I was young, he used to talk about Space Mountain and I never knew what it was until I got older, you know what I’m saying? So – but I like Rick Flair, I like Sting. I like them all.
Dixie Carter: Kurt Angle, that’s…
King Mo: Yes, Kurt Angle too. Yes, Kurt Angle, he’s going to be get beat down. I’m playing. But I’m just happy to just be there and just work with everybody, you know. Yes, I mean, I’m at a loss for words. I just can’t stop smiling when I think about it.
Dixie Carter: Yes, wish this were a video conference where you guys could see this.
Fred Richani: Yes and another question for Mo. A lot of MMA fighters ((inaudible)) little intimated to go with the pro wrestling and the (anime) route, you know, ((inaudible)) for doing it years back. How does your experience in Japan fighting first thing go to where pro wrestling and MMA are so intertwined, kind of helped you make this decision and go to this new career (avenue)?
King Mo: Well, I always wanted to be a pro wrestler to start off with anyway. And I like fighting so I figured that, you know, when I’m done fighting – because I had the opportunity to take – to do pro wrestling but I turned it down to pursue fighting.
And now I figured, hey, after I’m done fighting, I’m going to try to pursue pro wrestling. Well, now I don’t have to deal with all that. It’s a package deal so I’ve got the best of both worlds and I’m glad I took this. Man, I’m just – I’m happy to be here, you know, so I don’t know man.
Fred Richani: And there any health concerns. Obviously they touched on spreading yourself too thing but obviously your heart’s in the right place and mentally you’re ready for this but pro wrestling is certainly a tough business as is MMA. What adjustments do you feel like you’re going to have to make in order to get acquainted to your new career move?
King Mo: Just focusing on more recovery, do more ice baths and stuff just like (my wrestling) in college. In college we wrestled every week and every weekend – and I know it’s a lot different but I’m going to focus more on recovery and do more ice baths, probably get more massages and stuff like that and find a way to stay fresh because it’s going to be hard but I’m going to try my best to make it easy.
Fred Richani: and as far as the tournament format, as you once said on this conference call, you were all for going to the tournament but there’re a lot of guys, a lot of veterans, that have said that they’re not really a fan of it. What’s your response to them considering you’re (for it), you know, you’ve been through a lot of injuries and everything and you’ve overcome it and you’re willing to go through the tournament in order win that $100,000 and get that gold.
King Mo: Well, there’s the thing – there’re two things. I like to fight, I like to stay busy. And, you know, that’s the true way to figure out who gets the title shot. And then the other way, you know, the second thing is, you know, what do you want me to do? Do you want me to have this fight one time and I look good and then say that forget everybody else. King Mo gets a title shot?
You know, that’s not – that’s entertainment. It’s not a true sport. MMA – everybody wants to talk about MMA being a sport, but the way some people do it in other organizations it’s more like entertainment. The best way to figure out how deserves the title shot is to have a tournament.
And I think that’s – I’m willing to prove that I deserve a title shot by winning the tournament. So I figure this is the best way to do it.
Fred Richani: Great. Well, thanks so much and best of luck.
Operator: We’ll go next to Peter Lampasona with Thefightnerd.com.
Peter Lampasona: Hello. Two questions for Bjorn, two ways of sort of looking at the same thing. First off, you mentioned to me before how you keep to the tournament format because you like how it represents the purity in matchmaking. At the same time, when you have an athlete like Mo who would also be involved in professional wrestling, do you ever get worried that there might be some snickers amongst the fans, some association that this may be a work?
Bjorn Rebney: No, I don’t think so Peter. I mean, you and I have talked about it in the past. I’ve got way too much faith in the MMA fan base. You know, I’ve been living around them and sitting drinking cheap beer and eating pizza with them since I saw (Hoise Gracy) fighting in (Agee).
And I know who they are and I don’t think that there will be – I think that, you know, the spectacular fans on MMA and Spike for many years are more than able to be able to differentiate and to be able to understand that one is one and the other is the other and that there’s going to be one guy named King Mo bouncing from one to the other but it doesn’t mean that they’ve become intermingled as Kevin was saying and it means that they’ve become promoted and they become marketed.
They’ve got the amazing power of Spike Network behind them, but you can do two different things. I mean, you know, look, when Bo Jackson played baseball, he never tackled anybody. And nobody called that out as an oddity or something unusual. Nobody ever said, “You know, why aren’t you tackling anyone,” because they’re two different arenas.
And that’s what you’re going to see with Mo. He’s going to be participating in elite world class level in two different arenas. I don’t think it – you know, I’ve got a lot of trust in our fan base. I’ve got a lot of trust in MMA fans because I’ve been one of them for a long time and I think they’ll be completely comfortable with it.
Peter Lampasona: Okay, and the other question, sort of looking at the positive side of this, one big issue with the tournament format has been sort of keeping the momentum behind athletes who have just, you know, they’ve put on a good showing, they’re in the news, they’re in the media and then it’s hard to get them right back out there with the whole tournament format, at least after the tournament’s over and someone wins the title.
Is cross promotion like this? You mentioned that also doing pro wrestling might not be for everyone but this kind of venue of getting your fighters to do something else that’s in the limelight. Do you think that would be a good way to sort of keep the momentum going, keep them in the spotlight after something amazing happens?
Kevin Sullivan: Well, Peter, it’s sure one of them but as you saw in terms of kind of how Spike built out the mixed martial arts space, one of the things that made guys like you and I watch Spike Network was that you could tune in and you could watch live fights, you could watch a great reality series, you could watch best of greatest moment stories behind the fighters on a consistent basis.
So as we make that transition to Spike in the next six months, what you’re going to see is you’re going to see a (Bertran Van Moser) produced reality show. And you’re going to see great live events on a consistent basis. And you’re going to see a ton of shoulder programming.
And then in addition to that, in this Mo centric piece of momentum, you’re going to see Mo transitioning between Impact and Bellator on the same Spike network. So I think you combine all of those pieces and you put that puzzle together and it paints a great picture because we’ve got an awful lot working toward the development of this brand, the development of the impact brand and also the development of fighters like Mo, like our 55 pound champ, Michael Chandler, like (Eduardo Dontis), like (Pat Curren) and like (Ben Aston) and like many others that, as we transition to Spike, you’re going to see a ton of programming building these guys out as the superstars that they should be recognized as.
Peter Lampasona: Okay, and just one last question before I go – your answer reminded me of that – can we look forward to more Mo based puns as the season goes on?
Kevin: Well, you started it with Mo-mentum, Peter.
Peter Lampasona: All right, thank you very much and congratulations Mo.
Operator: And we’ll go next to Eddie Goldman with No Holds Barred.
Eddie Goldman: Thank you very much. Hello everybody. Hey Mo. First question is for you. As you know, about a century ago, Catch as Catch Can Wrestling later laid the basis for both modern pro wrestling and also American folk style wrestling and later had a greater influence on mixed martial arts. Now that you’re going to be doing some serious training in pro wrestling, do you think you may be able to learn some of the catch moves and possibly learn something that you can incorporate into your MMA game?
King Mo: Well, that’s the plan. I really want to do something, you know, that’s the way I wanted to try to do anyway. You know, but we’ll see what happens. I’m going to try to learn as much as I can and aim moves that can cross that – that I can bring over from pro wrestling to MMA. I’m going to try to do them especially at least a knock out or a submission. I’m going to do it.
Eddie Goldman: Well, I know you know how to do the knockouts and I know you trained in boxing and you’ve been a student of boxing as well, but you mentioned Jujitsu, but in terms of the catch submissions and that whole attitude, have you done much training in that or would you want to increase your training in that both in TNA and in Bellator?
King Mo: Well, you know, I’m looking to increase my knowledge in catch wrestling. And I’m going to work it. I’m going to holler at (Barnett) after he’s done fighting (Daniel) because (Dan)’s my boy.
But after that fight, I’m going to reach out to (Barnett) pick his brain here and there and watch them, do whatever it takes to become a better all around fighter and wrestler. So, yes, I’m open to that and I will do it.
Eddie Goldman: All right, I don’t know contractually could you compete in any of these catch tournaments that are going on which really you’re – are amateur tournaments at this point. Can you do that or you’ve just got to stick with TNA and Bellator?
King Mo: Well, it’s like this, I’m not sure if I would because I’m not trying to get injured when I really get paid to do pro wrestling and MMA. You know, and I think it would be a bad move, you know.
Eddie Goldman: Okay, and a question also for Bjorn. I know you’re thinking of your vacation in a few years and here’s something that might delay it or ruin it. Do you have plans to do more international work with Bellator outside of North America particularly with the developing Asian anime organizations? Obviously, you know, Mo and ((inaudible)) and is pretty well known in Asia at this point. Any plans to do something with them?
Bjorn Rebney: Yes, absolutely. I mean, look, one of the magical things we’ve got going here is that Impact’s got great reach internationally in terms of their content and their shows. Bellator has got some spectacular reach internationally right now. You know, our events down in Brazil have been doing – have been averaging just under 3 million viewers per show.
We just did a new pan regional deal with Celestial Tiger in Asia which is averaging huge numbers per show. So the saturation that we’re seeing overseas, and you know it better than anybody in terms of the history of wrestling, one of the reasons that wrestling has had such success overseas internationally is because they set the framework vis a vis doing television.
We’re enjoying great television success overseas in a lot of territories right now and ultimately that’ll set the table and already is setting the table for some international events.
You know, it could be in Asia. Mo has had great success in Asia. Mo has looked like a million dollars over there and could ultimately find ourselves in South America, Europe and some other territories where we’re hitting some great numbers and (Pre Mel), our international distribution partner has just been knocking the ball out of the park for us. So yes, that table is being set right now and we can see ourselves doing some international events in the next year to 18 months and Mo would surely be a great person to have in them because he’s going to have these two epic platforms, vis a vis, Impact and Bellator and Spike to set the table for him.
Eddie Goldman: All right, thank you. Congrats to everybody and I hope all this works out.
Male: Thanks Eddie.
Male: Okay, everybody, I believe that’s the last question. Thank you all for joining us. Again, hit me up if you’d like a transcript. It should be available tomorrow morning. Thanks everybody.
Dixie Carter: Thank you guys.
Operator: Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, that does conclude today’s conference call. We’d like to thank you all for your participation.