From Spike TV:
[Note: Even though there are some errors in this transcript, here it is anyway.You can listen to the entire unedited audio of this conference call on No HoldsBarred at http://nhbnews.podomatic.com/entry/2012-05-10T14_15_06-07_00or http://www.mediafire.com/?232tljyc69j8676.]
Moderator: David Schwarz
May 10, 2012
1:00 pm CT
Operator: Good day to everyone and welcome to the Bellator and TNA JointConference call. Today’s call is being recorded.
At this time for opening remarks and introductions, I’d like to turn thingsover to Mr. David Schwarz from Spike TV. Please go ahead.
David Schwarz: Thank you so much. Hi everybody. It’s a truly historic day hereat Spike TV. Bellator and TNA - very exciting announcement. Before I get intothat there’s a couple of quick housekeeping
A transcript will be available of the call. Just shoot me an email. We’ll havethat by early tomorrow morning so in case you miss anything, and you don’t wantto miss anything on this call, it will be available first thing in the morningtomorrow. 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 CEOof Bellator Fighting Championships, Dixie Carter who is the President of TNAEntertainment, and our special guest and new member of both Bellator and TNAWrestling, King Mo. We’re really excited to have our - all these people in theroom, particularly King Mo of course. And just wanted to explain that King Mois going to join TNA this summer, and then he will join Bellator next year whenBellator 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 deallike this, because we were able to take two great franchises and two greatpeople, Bjorn and Dixie, and kind of put them together, let them put theirheads together and figure out how to make this happen. And I think we’re kindof uniquely positioned to offer an opportunity to Mo, because he’s a tremendouspersonality, a great MMA fighter, a world-class athlete and he lovesprofessional wrestling and that’s why this deal really made sense. And so we’reexcited and we’re always going to be in the business of offering opportunitiesto fighters, you know, that we can put our businesses together and kind of findunique ways to bring really talented fighters into the house. So with that saidI’m going to turn it over to Bjorn.
Bjorn Rebney: Thanks Kevin. I think is excited is the key word. I’m excited andI 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 isthe top most accomplished executive in the history of mixed martial artstelevision. The lady that is sitting - and that’s Kevin Kay. The lady sittingto my left is really the prime driving force innovator in the wrestlingentertainment arena. And I’m sitting across the table from a gentleman who is aspectacular 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 inthe sports entertainment arena simultaneously. It’s a first of its kindopportunity. As Dixie and I had talked about many times and then Kevin’s entireteam here, it took the right kind of personality. It took the right person toput this together, somebody who had a love as Kevin said for wrestling who wasa world-class elite level mixed martial artist, and who had the wherewithal andthe track record and the history to be able to pull this all together and playin both realms at the same time at a world-class elite level. So very excitingto be - to have been able to do this, and simultaneously to do it underneaththe Spike banner who really wrote the book on mixed martial arts programming,have pushed the envelope and created wrestling programming, the likes of whichhas never yet - has never before been seen in the world and a familyenvironment and an environment where there’s real cooperation between theparties who will impact Bellator Spike are working hand in hand with Mo, andtrying to figure out how to put this together, how to make it something reallyspecial, how to give somebody an opportunity to do both of these things at onceunder one umbrella who really wrote the book. So very exciting and I can’t waitto see this. As a fan taking my CEO hat off I can’t wait to see this all unfoldover the next year under the Spike banner. So with that I will turn it over toDixie Carter.
Dixie Carter: Thank you Bjorn. I’m very excited as well. I’ve been pretty vocalthe last few years about wanting to find an opportunity like this for somebodyto have tremendous success both in the professional wrestling world who alsowas an accomplished fighter, have had conversations with people who I don’tbelieve 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 weworked together. I can’t say enough good things about Kevin Kay. What he’s doneto support our brand, to help grow our franchise and, you know, like Bjorn saidI don’t think there is a - there’s not a better network nor a better leader tobuild an MMA brand than And, you know, when Bjorn and I talked to Kevin, youknow, 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 matterof finding the right talent. When Mo became available - to have somebody withthe kind of unbelievable, you know, wrestling credentials that he has, hispersonality is off the charts and, you know, to talk to him about his passionfor professional wrestling and some of the big guys that work for us such as Stingand Hulk Hogan, you know, I’m looking at him now and he’s got a big old smileon his face. I mean, he’s excited so it’s a pretty formidable group at thistable and we’re excited to accomplish big things with this man who I willintroduce 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 thinkingabout it. Had a hard time sleeping and now I’m - I came to the realization thatI 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’slooking bright right now and it’s going to be bright throughout the wholeriding 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 toask a question, please press star 1 on your touch-tone phone. If you’re using aspeakerphone, please make sure that your mute function is turned off to allowyour signal to reach our equipment. Again star 1 for any questions at thistime. 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 wantto 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 prowrestling? I know you’ve been thinking about this your whole life, but have youdone a lot of training and how long before - and this is sort of for Dixie aswell. How long before you kind of - we kind of see him on television and figurewe 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 Iwas there for a week and I got a chance to work with Tom Pritchard, and Ilearned a lot from there and I actually still remember a lot from And Iwatched, you know, guys like Scotty 2 Hotty The Worm and worked with Mark Henryand John Morrison out there. So, you know, I picked up things to do and Iwatched guys that were terrible like Nathan Jones. Not to bash him but, youknow, he’s awful. You know, he’s hurting people in there and I know what to doand 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 trainingand doing what it takes. He’s going to spend some time at OVW. Our top talentare committed to working with him and bringing You know, we have the only, youknow, Olympic gold medalist in wrestling, Kurt Angle, who has made the biggestjump to professional wrestling who is very excited about him. Everybody reallyis so I think, you know, it’ll be a combination of time at OVW, time workingwith our guys on the road and I know he’s very, very committed to it so it’ll begreat.
Dave Meltzer: Now in - going forward to next year I would presume that, youknow, Mo would probably want to -- and maybe I’m wrong and I spoke kind of forBjorn and Mo -- enter like a light heavyweight tournament and get a shot at thechampionship there. You know, if he’s going to be doing three fights in threemonths and then lead into a championship match, how much professional wrestlingwould you be able to do? I mean, would you have to take three months off orwould - what’s kind of like your mentality going forward? And also for Mo howis your knee doing right now?
Muhammed Lawal: Well as far as the tournament I will enter the tournament andI’ll win the tournament and I’m going to get that belt. You know, that’s whatI’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’mnot, you know, I’m a workhorse. Whatever, you know, whatever needs to be done
Dave Meltzer: And do you have a time period like when you’re going to go toLouisville? Are you going soon or are you going in like two months, or do youkind 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 MMAfans - they have been unhappy when fighters such as Brock Lesnar are associatedwith pro wrestling. Did those feelings play into your decision at all or is itjust something you ignored?
Bjorn Rebney: No. It’s just, you know, Dann you and I talked about it a bunchof times. I mean, I look at our MMA fan base. I mean, you know, it - the demothat follows mixed martial arts that watch it on Spike network, I mean, it’s anevolved, technologically savvy demo that lives online and is followingeverything on Twitter and is getting information in bytes that are happening inthe And I have an amazing amount of trust in the MMA fan base because I’m oneof them. I mean, I’m a hard core, and in their ability to realize what mixedmartial arts is and realize what professional wrestling is, and understand thatwe found a guy in Mo who’s able to transcend, you know, both of those differentenvironments simultaneously, who’s able to play in both of them. And I thinkwhen fans see what’s going to come out vis-à-vis Spike, and when they see whatMo’s going to do at IMPACT and what Mo’s going to do at Bellator, and the factthat it’s going to happen at the same time. It’s not going to be divorcinghimself from one career and moving into another, and then moving out of thatcareer back into another. It’s going to be simultaneous. I mean, first therewas Bo and now there’s Mo. So, you know, it’s an opportunity for somebody toreally, you know, to step up and to do two things at the same time. You’retalking about a world-class athlete who is a wrestler, and you’ve seen the kindof success we’ve had with wrestlers whether it be, you know, the Warrens orwhether it be the Askrens or whether it be the Cole Konrads or whether it bethe Chandlers, they’re used to going all the time. This is, you know, a lot offighters you go to and you say, "Three fights in three months," andthey 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 weget busier?" So, you know, I think it’s going to work beautifully and Ithink 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 inabout 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 recentlyhinted that the door could be opened for you to come back to Strikeforce oreven the UFC. Did that factor into your decision at all or was this just a muchbetter deal in your eyes?
Muhammed Lawal: Well let’s put it like this. The door’s closed, you know whatI’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 tome with something that makes sense and it’s good and a great deal, I’m going totake the best deal. And right now, the Bellator deal is the best deal you couldpossibly get, you know what I’m saying? Bellator and Impact Wrestling - that’sthe best deal you could possibly get and I’m glad I
Dann Stupp: Great. Thank you guys.
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 KingMo, sort of a follow up on what Dann Stupp was just asking. You mentioned thatthis 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 waitto see if other organizations might be interested? Was there a compellingreason that you had to do a deal now
Muhammed Lawal: What’s your name again?
Muhammed Lawal: Sergio, Sergio, okay. You know, let’s be real man. There’s onlyabout two organizations out there. You got Zuffa and you got Bellator, youknow. What’s there to wait for, I could’ve waited for Zuffa to take me back inSeptember, or I could take what Bellator and IMPACT Wrestling had offered. Andreally, 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 upwith Hulk Hogan, you know, Sting, you know, Dixie, Bjorn, you know, They’re allcalling me and I’m going to - I want to go with where I’m wanted. And if, youknow, 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 anyconcerns that you might have to limit what you’re able to do with Mo because ofhis MMA work Like with Bobby Lashley as I recall, he just - he ultimatelycouldn’t really balance doing both MMA and pro wrestling. What makes youconfident that you’ll be able to do it this time?
Dixie Carter: Well we never tried anything with Bobby. He did a short stintwith 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 notpushing it too hard to be honest with you, based on the conversation I’ve hadwith him. I’m not worried that I won’t get enough. I’m worried that he’s goingto want too much, and so I really don’t have any concerns about it. He’s - heis such an incredible athlete. When you really hear about how he trains, thekind 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 quitehonestly - I don’t know if there’s another athlete out there and if there arehere’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 offor instance like Joe Warren, it didn’t really work out for him ultimatelytrying to do both MMA and the Olympic trials at how do you alleviate anyconcerns you might have about Mo being stretched too thin?
Bjorn Rebney: Well, see that’s the magic of the synergy that exists underneaththe Spike umbrella. hat’s - this is the first of a lot of different kind ofsynergistic pieces of the business that we’re going to put into play. And whatit allows us to do is, you know, with all due respect to the U.S. OlympicCommittee they won’t work under the Spike umbrella with Bellator. But whenyou’ve got one family at Viacom, one ambrella that’s really written the book inthe MMA space and has created like I said - pushed the boundaries in terms ofprofessional wrestling and developing incredible programming there with MPACT,we’re all sitting in one room. Literally Kevin and Dixie and I are sittingtogether orchestrating how this will work, and we’re working with Mo as apartner of ours, not as an employee but as somebody sitting down with us andsaying, "Okay, how can we make this work? How can we maximize it? When arethe timeframes going to be - need to be more heavily focused on Mo’s prep for afight he’s got coming up in the Bellator cage on Spike? And when is Mo going toneed to be more focused for what’s he’s going to do with IMPACT with Sting andKurt and others?" So it’s about that continuity and it’s about having a completeopen door to communication and all of us focused on the bigger goal, which isbuilding o and building the King Mo brand.
Dixie Carter: And I think to echo that we’re going to be playing out and, youknow, the real life role, his role on our show as well. So as he’s prepping fora fight a lot of that will be covered within he show, so it’s not as if he’sgoing to live two distinct worlds. You know, we have every intention f blendingthose two together.
Sergio Non: And actually just one other question that just came up. I don’tsuppose Mo you’ve decided that you’re finishing move will be yet.
Muhammed Lawal: I’m still, you know, still thinking about that. You know, I’llreveal the name later but I’m till, you know, a lot of possibilities. I’m eventrying 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 saidthat this was the best deal. And you made - according to the Nevada StateAthletic Commission you made $95,000 in your last fight with the win bonus,which is pretty good for Strikeforce and even Zuffa in general. o can you tellus 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 likethat. I can’t go into the particulars but I’m just telling you this. It’s abetter deal in the long run. I’m going to be on Spike TV dog, you t’s not - andthat’s not Showtime because I like Showtime. They were cool but Spike TV isbigger than Showtime, so I’m going to be in - I’m going to be seen by morepeople. 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’sfor a long time, you now what I’m saying, so I’ll probably be having some grayhair by the time I’m done, in my beard
Ariel Helwani: Right. And just curious, did Strikeforce or the UFC try tocounter this offer, or did they even now that you were going to sign with Bellatorand TNA before you did sign the contract?
Muhammed Lawal: They knew but if - and we could tell you more about that wholething. You need to all Mike Hogan and you know his number: 408-583-7220.
Ariel Helwani: I don’t know. All right. And just curious, just knowing you andhow much you love pro wrestling, I’m wondering which organization are you mostexcited about debuting in, TNA or
Mhammed Lawal: Hey, both equally, you know what I’m saying. I, you know, becauselike I said earlier 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 doingthat as well. So I feel sorry for who that victim is. They get
Ariel Helwani: And just one last one for you Mo. You know, you’ve obviously hada longstanding beef with Rampage Jackson. It looks like his UFC career iscoming to an end. re you going to try to convince Bjorn and Spike to sign himso you can fight him in Bellator?
Muhammed Lawal: If he wants to fight or he can sign with IMPACT Wrestling andwe could do a match here. You know, it’s whatever. I - you can talk to Rampage.I really don’t know what he’s going to o and, you know, it’s whatever. ut Ijust know this. King Mo is with Bellator and IMPACT Wrestling and that’s theway it is.
Ariel Helwani: Okay, and just two quick ones for Kevin if I may. Bjorn saidthat there’s going to be more ort of synergy between TNA and Bellator in thefuture in I’m guessing 2013 when Bellator moves ver. Can you give us a hint asto what kind of synergy we’ll be seeing?
Kevin Kay: Well I think you’ll see - obviously you’re going to see a lot ofpromotion back and forth between the two brands. I think we’ll always belooking for, you know, fighters or wrestlers who, you know, want to go from onebrand to the other in a similar fashion to what Mo is doing. and, you know, ifthat makes sense we’ll definitely look at it. And, you know, and the other partof hat Ariel is that, you know, we’re looking at not just, you know, Bellatorand TNA but also like hat other opportunities there are for, you know, forfighters to come to Bellator or to TNA offering them different things, youknow, under our umbrella whether it’s, you know, video games r, you know,development and - of their careers in different ways. o, you know, we’re goingto use every resource that we have to sign the best fighters that we can getand the best wrestlers.
Ariel Helwani: And my last one for you Kevin would be, you know, given thesimilarities in the demographic and the audience, and now you have a fighterthat will be, you know, appearing on both brands and both shows, does this meannext year that we’ll be seeing Bellator maybe on the same night as TNA? Willthey be sort of coupled together?
Kevin Kay: Don’t know yet. You know, we - we’re still looking at like whatnight is right and, you know, that you’ll see is, you know, TNA’s going to beon Thursday at 8 o’clock. May 31 we’re moving to 8 o’clock. That’s a bigdecision and it’s because there’s more of an available audience there, andbecause we want to get out of the way of football when it comes in and we wantto establish a beachhead for TNA at 8 o’clock and I think it’s a really smartmove. 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 alittle closer and then make a decision. And the other thing I just wanted topoint out is, you know, just say about this deal is that one of the things Ilove about is because Mo’s on both franchises, you know, he will be on Spikeall the mean, that is literally like, you know, 40, 45, 50 weeks a year Mo’s onSpike. He’s on IMPACT when he’s not on Bellator. He’s on Bellator when he’s noton IMPACT and we have a lot of other lans to promote him and do - and use thepower of Spike and Spike brand, you know, too, you know, I don’t know thatthere’s a fighter out there in all of MMA or a wrestler out there - ellactually TNA’s on 52 weeks a year. But I don’t think that there’s another MMAfighter out here that’s going to get this kind of exposure. I’m sure of itactually.
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 youhave any other fighters hat have expressed interest in doing the same sort ofdeal 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 wetalked about when we kicked this off it takes real special fit to do this,because in order for it to really work and work well the fighter’s got to e aworld-class fighter in mixed martial arts. And, you know, and have to have theability based on a wrestling background and a personality o transcend and beable to, you know, kind of achieve excellence inside the IMPACT ring as well. oit’s not something for everyone and Mo is that very, very unique fit. I mean, Ithink if any of us look back a year ago or a year and a half ago and youwould’ve been sitting around the table with MA fans that knew wrestling andsaid, "Who’s the one guy who could conceptually do this? Ho’s the onepersonality that we know out there in this space who could do this?" youknow, the first guy to come to your lips would be King Mo. So it - while therehave been some people that have expressed interest, I mean, you know, we hadJoe Warren on IMPACT doing commentary ad having fun not that long ago. B interms of a guy to really be able to live in both realms and to be able topotentially be a king o rule both realms, this is the guy.
Dixie Carter: It was asked earlier too about, you know, how would MMA fans takethis. And I think for a long time I was - the talk was for me to have awrestler that would go and start fighting. ut I think the reason this is goingto be successful is Mo has already established himself as one f the topfighters in the MMA world. You know, there’s no questioning that. And so he’llmake the transition to our world versus taking somebody from our world andmaking hat transition as the first person to ever conquer this. So I think thatit’s so legit from where he stands from the MMA world. I just think it’sperfect.
Ken Pishna: Yes. I know both of these guys are currently under contractelsewhere, but guys like Quinton Jackson come to mind and Josh Barnett who areboth fighters who, you know, Quinton’s obviously going to - he says he’s goingto be leaving the UFC as soon as his contract is up. And, you know, JoshBarnett is a guy who’s played both the MMA world and the pro wrestling worldbefore. Are fighters like that guy that if they become available you wouldpursue?
Bjorn Rebney: No. I mean, look. I think our focus is really...
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, youknow, Bellator stands for a certain level of purity and a certain level ofobjectivity in the MMA world. You know, you earn your title shots here. There’sno theatrics behind it. There’s no, you know, wizard behind a curtain decidingwho fights who for what and when based on how we think we can sellpay-per-views or the like. It’s literally completely objective real sport so tointegrate somebody into both of those worlds, like Dixie said you had to findsomebody who had world-class ability as a mixed martial artist and transitionthem into the professional wrestling world. And it just so happened we foundsomebody who, you know, used to watch Sting 15 years ago wrestle and was a die-hardfan of the sport, and can quote you events that happened that are fromorganizations that don’t even exist anymore, so that’s where it really camefrom. 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? Imean, 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 fightsand wrestling at the same time because, you know, most guys that are trainingthat are just mixed martial artists are training every day, you know, five, sixdays a week just to be successful in that realm? Do you - how hard do you thinkit’s going to be balance both of them?
Muhammed Lawal: I don’t think it’s going to be that hard at all because, youknow, you got some guys like - that do other things as well as train MMA. Andon top of that it’s not like when I go to - when I go travel I can’t bring acoach with me to hold mitts for me or bring a Jujitsu guy to grapple with afterI’m done doing what I got to do. You know, it’s not that hard at all. I’ll makeit work.
Dixie Carter: Well can I say it’s going to be hard but you have the ability todo 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’mready.
Ken Pishna: Do you think - having talked to some of the wrestlers out there, doyou think there’s enough of those guys that have the interest in mixed martialarts that you can use some of them as training partners when you’re out on theroad?
Muhammed Lawal: I guess I’ll find out, you know. I know some guys that areinterested in it, you know, but the thing is that they just don’t have thebackground or the skill level to do it. So, you know, we’ll - I guess we’ll seebecause maybe I could teach some guys a few things here and there and then wecan 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 dealwith 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?
Mike Johnson: Good. A couple of questions. Mo’s currently serving thesuspension with the Nevada State Commission. Is there any concern about puttinghim in the ring within TNA before that Has that been any topic of discussionand do you think there’ll be an issue with the Commission if he’s doing prowrestling 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 Ithink, you know, anybody that’s been tracking Mo and his career our primaryconcern right now is the rehabilitation of his I mean, Mo went through a kneesurgery followed as most of us know by a catastrophic staph infection thatcould very well have taken his life. I mean, in - what he’s overcome and thetransition that he’s gone through, and the kind of travails he’s had to dealwith over the last number of months have been pretty substantial. So like ourfirst and foremost concern right now is Mo’s back. He - walking around he’sfeeling good. He’s back in full-time rehab. We pulled him out of it obviouslyto come to New York and do this, but that’s our first and foremost concern isthe rehabilitation to get Mo back to 110%. And then the timing of the launch onIMPACT and the timing of the launch from our perspective inside of our MMA cageat Bellator, that’ll all come when it will come. But really the focal point rightnow is rehabbing him 110%.
Mike Johnson: Okay, had a question for Kevin specifically. You talked about thesynergy between these two companies. IMPACT’s going to be changing their timeslot I think again at the end of the Is it possible we’ll be looking at maybe adouble shot of IMPACT followed by Bellator at some point, or maybe aco-promoted special where there’s MMA fights and pro wrestling boutsincorporating 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 aco-promoted, you know, we’re going to keep the two brands separate but we willpromote back and forth between the two So, you know, and in terms of the, youknow, the time slot, you know, as I said before we’re just not there yet interms of what we’re thinking. You know, we are literally assessing thelandscape and we will make the best decision for Bellator about where it shouldbe. It’s a conversation Bjorn and I have like once a week and probably willhave once a week, every week from now until, you know, we make that decisiontogether. 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 mostratings and the most fannies in the seats.
Mike Johnson: Right. And one final question. A couple of the other writerstalked about potential fighters who could do both TNA and Bellator, howeverthere’s a wrestler out there who’s not active right And Dave Batista who’s gothuge name value, marquee value - he’s headlined Wrestlemania and he’s alsoexpressed a lot of interest in doing MMA. Is that - is it possible he could beon your radar for signing down the line, similar to the King Mo
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 ofpeople out there today wishing that this was them. I mean, this is a greatopportunity to be honest. But one reason it is such a great opportunity is thatthis is our focus right now and, you know, to make sure that King Mo comes outin the biggest way for us and in the MMA world.
Mike Johnson: And one last question for Mo. In the past guys like Brock Lesnarhave dealt with a lot of backlash from MMA fans for even being a formerwrestler going into MMA. What sort of backlash do you think you’re going to getfrom some of the fans, dabbling in pro wrestling at the same time you’re doingMMA, and what’s your message to them?
Muhammed Lawal: Well really I’ll be honest with you. I don’t care. And ifthey’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 thatis 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.
Operator: We’ll go now to Steven Muehlhausen with bleacherreport.com.
Steven Muehlhausen: Thank you guys for the time today, and Mo congratulationsas always my friend. But you back it and getting to do what you want to do, andI’ll start with you Mo. How big of a dream was this for you? I remember talkingto you in the past and you said, "I’ve always wanted to be in professionalwrestling." 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 turnedmy WWE contract - I turned it down. And now it circled back around and I’mexcited, you know, and I had to jump on it. I can’t turn something like thisdown and I refuse to, and I took it and I’m happy with it. I’m excited. I can’t
Steven Muehlhausen: And to follow up Mo, regarding - and so what do you thinkof their light heavyweight division?
Muhammed Lawal: You know, hey, it’s like this. They got talent there. Anybodycan be beat. Christian M’Pumbu has good Jujitsu. He has good standup and he’sshown he has skill. He’s been around Travis Wiuff, you know, I beat him in thepast 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. Hedefeated my friend Nik Fekete. I’m, you know, anybody can get beat so I’m goingthere, you know, 100% and focused and I’m going to win the tournament. So, youknow, 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 Konradand other wrestlers did, you know what I’m So I’m just, you know, I’m notworried about who’s there. I’m just worried about me taking care of
Steven Muehlhausen: And Bjorn, you know, signing Mo today is a big signing foryou guys. Does this feel now that you guys are on MMA because you always yousaid you wanted Mo but then the other core model and you’re bringing Italianguy in outside of that model. Does this mean you’re going to keep bringing inmore big name guys like this or - and does this also indicate that maybe you’renot going to find ((inaudible)).
Male: You know, it - we talked about it in the past. We’re - you know, we’renot an organization that plants a flag in the ground and defends it in kind ofa Custer-like defense. You know, we don’t set the bar somewhere and say we’renever going to deviate from it. So really what it comes down to is Mo wasperfect 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 mixedmartial arts fight and early in the first round he through a Superman punch andput (Travis) to sleep. So it - you know, I mean, there are moments in time thatyou look at as a hardcore MMA fan. I mean, not a lot of people, like, payattention or did at that point to the Japanese MMA scene, but when you see thatkind of character come out with a purple robe and a crown on his head and, youknow, a microphone was put in front of his face before the fight and he wasasked, "What are you most nervous about," and his answer was, "I’mmost nervous that the girls I’m walking out You think to yourself, this is acharacter. This is a guy who you can do crazy things with and it could reallyhave an impact on a promotion. And we just - we’ve got the synergies to make itwork. So, I mean, that’s - you know, that is the focal point and the impactthat it has on the signing of other fighters that are big names will be basedon that same kind of analysis. It’ll be based on this team at I’m blessed tohave with me based on (sitting out) with (Kevin Kay) and our partners at Spikeand where there might be a fit sitting down with Dixie and saying, "Doesthis make sense?" And of all the situations that could’ve made sense, thiswas the one that just jumped off the page. So whether it’s just Bellator orsome kind of integration like this, we’ll just look at it on a one-off basisand 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 asheavyweight before and will there be any consideration to put you atheavyweight 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. Sowherever 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 heavyweighttournament, I’ll jump in and fight those big guys, too, and knock them out. I’mabout knockouts.
Male: And for Dixie and ((inaudible)), you said you wanted to get him in therestarting in the summer. Is there more a better timeline for the ((inaudible))can anticipate when we can see Mo coming into
Dixie Carter: Well, I think the first thing we have to do is get him completelyhealthy. That’s just the biggest priority for all of us. Once we know, youknow, 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. ButI think we’ve got to make sure that he’s 100% healthy and ready to go before we
Male: Well, when do you think - final question for Mo. Mo, when do you thinkyou will be ready to get
King Mo: I’ll find out after my rehab therapy. You know, if I could tell you acertain date then I would but I’ll talk to my rehab therapist and he’ll tell mewhen 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
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 fromtheir perspective. Obviously in a deal like this, it seems like there’re a lotof moving parts involved. And I’m wondering, you know, who first initiated thisdeal, what was the timeframe when it all went down and how did it all sort ofcome together?
(Deelan): Hey Mike, It’s (Deelan). You know, it really - it was a matter ofDixie and I having had a series of conversations with Kevin over literal over ayear of bouncing the concept and the ideaaround. But for concern for thecredibility 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 somebodywho 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’veseen who he’s beaten and how, you know, how he’s performed. He’s one of thosewrestlers that comes out and while he has the world class wrestling skills, hedoesn’t rely on them. He relies on his takedowns to set up his punches and he’sgot 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 notin the business of talking to anybody when they are in contract with anotherorganization. But when he parted ways with his prior group, that’s when we allcame together and said, "Hey, this could conceptually be that guy. Thiscould be the guy who could actually fill that spot and could do a great jobdoing both." So that’s kind of when it all started in earnest in terms oftalking 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 therethat’s the one we needed to get.
Mike Chiappetta: And, Kevin, how did you sort of work into it? I guess you haveto kind of bring them together? It sounds like they were already kind of on thesame page but what about - where does your role fit into this?
Kevin: 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 impactand they could help promote Bellator. And let’s, you know, let’s go back andforth between the two brands in terms of promotion and let’s look at peopletogether 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 professionalwrestling 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 ofthat organization, not just throw somebody in So knowing that Mo was, you know,a huge professional wrestling fan and then finding out later that, like youknow, he idolized Sting and Hogan and, you know, had followed professionalwrestling, like, not just recently but throughout his whole life, you know, itjust made so much And then, you know, add onto that, like, one of the greatestmixed 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, Iwas, like, "Yes, go for it. Let’s do it. Let’s figure this out. Let’severybody get on the phone, get out there, do whatever we have to do and, youknow, and make a deal with Mo and get him to both organizations."
Mike Chiappetta: Is this deal - essentially is it, you know, signed with Viacomor is it - do you have, like, two separate deals - one with Bellator, one withTNA? 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 aboutyour knee on this call and the fact that you’re still going through physicaltherapy. Can you kindly give us an update right now on what exactly the healthof your knee is?
King Mo: Well, the tubes are out, you know, because the infection’s gone. I’mwalking around and I’m doing rehab. You know, before I couldn’t even do rehabbecause the infection was still around. So I’m moving forward and I’m gettinghealthy.
Mike Chiappetta: And if you were to say, you know, with a certain percentage ofnormal health, what
King Mo: I’m not sure until I start testing it more because I knowstrength-wise, you know, it feels good but it can always be stronger. But I’lltest it more and I’m going to be doing that with my rehab
Mike Chiappetta: Okay. And obviously you’ve been a wrestling fan for a longtime, what’s kind of your favorite memory growing up, something that you thinkback to that kind of makes you smile when you think about now the fact thatyou’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, youknow, I was a big Sting fan and he was facing Rick Flare and the Crash, thechampion. And it was on TV and the night before, I was praying, you know - Ireally 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 waswatching the match and the match ended up, you know, being like a time limitbrawl so I was pretty crushed, you know, because Sting didn’t win the belt. Andthat’s - and I still think about that because I was praying, you know, for myboy, you know, Sting to win and it didn’t come true so I still think about thata lot.
Mike Chaippetta: All right, cool. Thanks a lot guys. I appreciate it. Good luckto you.
Dixie Carter: Thank you so much.
Operator: We’ll go to Matt Bishop with The Detroit News.
Matt Bishop: Hey, first off, question for Bjorn. Bjorn, there were a lot ofmoving parts, you know, a lot of different people working on this deal. Wereyou surprised you were able to get this done in, you know, pretty much sixweeks after Mo was released from Strikeforce?
Bjorn Rebney: No, I wasn’t but it just - that’s become commonplace in therelationship that we, as a company, have with Spike and with Viacom. We’rereally part of that family and one of the cool things about being hereunderneath this umbrella is that that whole family kind of works in unison. Andit’s not a matter of calling somebody and looking for three days to get anappointment to set up to talk to somebody. Kevin and I talk every single dayand we’re texting each other back and forth and we’re sending each other photosof this or that or ideas and clips and, you know, both Impact and Bellatorbeing part of that same family, there was an ease to getting this done thathaving 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 areexisting underneath this umbrella and specifically under these two kind ofpreeminent sports franchises at Spike, but it wasn’t nearly as tough as youwould think. It was literally like working with family and/or friends to try toget something done that you all recognize could be very powerful and veryexplosive if you could get it done right, and literally just jumping onconference calls. We’re all in different places. We’re all bouncing all overthe country and the world but it was much more - it was much simpler than youwould think given the size of Viacom and the size of Spike and Bellator andImpact to get this thing completed. It took a series of phone calls to put thewheels in motion and then it all just started to roll.
Dixie Carter: And it was fun.
Dixie Carter: The whole process has been fun.
Kevin Sullivan: I think, you know, the question really wasn’t, like, how longis it going to take? The question was how do we get this done right now? And Ithink 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 doyou have to do to make your part happen, Kevin, what do you have to do to makeyour part happen?" And, you know, we were all on the same page and it wasimportant and when it’s important, it gets done fast.
Matt Bishop: Now, Dixie, obviously this is a very unique situation for yourcompany. Has TNA already been hard at work coming up with ideas for how to useMo?
Dixie Carter: You know, I’ve actually kept him a secret to almost everybodythere 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 - weasked him about his (finishing move), I mean, the guy’s already named his finishingmove. He’s got these (contests). I mean, he’s really, you know, he’s a studentof 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 withour 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 onthat stage, he’s going to own it and it’s - they’re going to feel that charismahit 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 separatedeals - one with Bellator, one with TNA, is - did Spike kick in any money toget 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 boththese 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 tobuild it and it’s not to make fights or tell ((inaudible)) we should do whatand when. We don’t do that. What we do is market and I think we’re really goodat it and when you look at the opportunity that ((inaudible)) to be marketedbecause he’s a marketing machine, right, you know, we’re going to have a lot offun doing this and we are going to make him big and we’re going to put - andmake him big in both organizations and that’s where we’ll - that’s actuallywhere we’ll spend the next money which is like marketing King Mo in both theseorganizations.
Matt Bishop: Thanks everyone.
Operator: We’ll go next to Fred Richani with the Sports Courier.
Fred Richani: Okay, this question is for Mo. I was just wondering, withoutgiving anything away, is there anybody in particular in TNA that you would loveto work with down the road?
King Mo: The nature boy, Rick Flair. You know, I love Rick Flair. Man, he hasstyle, swag, everything. When I was young, he used to talk about Space Mountainand 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 whenI think about it.
Dixie Carter: Yes, wish this were a video conference where you guys could seethis.
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 yourexperience in Japan fighting first thing go to where pro wrestling and MMA areso 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 itdown to pursue fighting. And now I figured, hey, after I’m done fighting, I’mgoing to try to pursue pro wrestling. Well, now I don’t have to deal with allthat. It’s a package deal so I’ve got the best of both worlds and I’m glad Itook 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 onspreading yourself too thing but obviously your heart’s in the right place andmentally you’re ready for this but pro wrestling is certainly a tough businessas is MMA. What adjustments do you feel like you’re going to have to make inorder 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 anddo more ice baths, probably get more massages and stuff like that and find away to stay fresh because it’s going to be hard but I’m going to try my best to
Fred Richani: and as far as the tournament format, as you once said on thisconference call, you were all for going to the tournament but there’re a lot ofguys, 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 beenthrough a lot of injuries and everything and you’ve overcome it and you’rewilling to o through the tournament in order win that $100,000 and get thatgold.
King Mo: Well, there’s the thing - there’re two things. I like to fight, I liketo stay busy. And, you know, hat’s the true way to figure out who gets thetitle 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 Ilook good and then say that forget everybody else. King Mo gets a title shot? youknow, that’s not - that’s entertainment. It’s not a true sport. MMA - everybodywants to talk bout MMA being a sport, but the way some people do it in otherorganizations it’s more like entertainment. The best way to figure out howdeserves the title shot is to have a tournament. And I think that’s - I’mwilling to prove that I deserve a title shot by winning the tournament. So Ifigure 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 atthe same thing. First off, you mentioned to me before how you keep to thetournament 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 involvedin professional wrestling, do you ever get worried that there might be somesnickers 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 aboutit in the past. I’ve got way too much faith in the MMA fan base. You know, I’vebeen living around them and sitting drinking cheap beer and eating pizza withthem since I saw (Hoise Gracy) fighting in (Agee). And I know who they are andI don’t think that there will be - I think that, you know, the spectacular fanson MMA and Spike for many years are more than able to be able to differentiateand to be able to understand that one is one and the other is the other andthat there’s going to be one guy named King Mo bouncing from one to the otherbut it doesn’t mean that they’ve become intermingled as Kevin was saying and itmeans that they’ve become promoted and they They’ve got the amazing power ofSpike Network behind them, but you can do two different things. I mean, youknow, ok, when Bo Jackson played baseball, he never tackled anybody. And nobodycalled that out as an oddity or something unusual. Nobody ever said, "Youknow, why aren’t you tackling anyone," because they’re two differentarenas. And that’s what you’re going to see with Mo. He’s going to beparticipating in elite world class level in two different arenas. I don’t thinkit - you know, I’ve got a lot of trust in our fan base. I’ve got a lot of trustin MMA fans because I’ve been one of them for a long time and I think they’llbe completely comfortable with it.
Peter Lampasona: Okay, and the other question, sort of looking at the positiveside of this, one big issue with the tournament format has been sort of keepingthe momentum behind athletes who have just, you know, they’ve put on a goodshowing, they’re in the news, they’re in the media and then it’s hard to getthem right back out there with the whole tournament format, at least after thetournament’s over and someone wins the title. Is cross promotion like this? Youmentioned that also doing pro wrestling might not be for everyone but this kindof 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, keepthem in the spotlight after something amazing happens?
Kevin Sullivan: Well, Peter, it’s sure one of them but as you saw in terms ofkind of how Spike built out the mixed martial arts space, one of the thingsthat made guys like you and I watch Spike Network was that you could tune inand you could watch live fights, you could watch a great reality series, youcould watch best of greatest moment stories behind the fighters on a consistentSo as we make that transition to Spike in the next six months, what you’regoing to see is you’re going to see a (Bertran Van Moser) produced realityshow. And you’re going to see great live events on a consistent basis. Andyou’re going to see a ton of shoulder programming. And then in addition tothat, in this Mo centric piece of momentum, you’re going to see Motransitioning between Impact and Bellator on the same Spike network. So I thinkyou combine all of those pieces and you put that puzzle together and it paintsa great picture because we’ve got an awful lot working toward the developmentof this brand, the development of the impact brand and also the development offighters like Mo, like our 55 pound champ, Michael Chandler, like (EduardoDontis), like (Pat Curren) and like (Ben Aston) and like many others that, aswe transition to Spike, you’re going to see a ton of programming building theseguys out as the superstars that they should be recognized as.
Peter Lampasona: Okay, and just one last question before I go - your answerreminded me of that - can we look forward to more Mo based puns as the seasongoes 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 isfor you. As you know, about a century ago, Catch as Catch Can Wrestling laterlaid the basis for both modern pro wrestling and also American folk stylewrestling and later had a greater influence on mixed martial arts. Now thatyou’re going to be doing some serious training in pro wrestling, do you thinkyou may be able to learn some of the catch moves and possibly learn somethingthat you can incorporate into your MMA game?
King Mo: Well, that’s the plan. I really want to do something, you know, that’sthe way I wanted to try to do anyway. You know, but we’ll see what happens. I’mgoing to try to learn as much as I can and aim moves that can cross that - thatI can bring over from pro wrestling to MMA. I’m going to try to do themespecially 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 youtrained in boxing and you’ve been a student of boxing as well, but youmentioned Jujitsu, but in terms of the catch submissions and that wholeattitude, have you done much training in that or would you want to increaseyour training in that both in TNA and in Bellator?
King Mo: Well, you know, I’m looking to increase my knowledge in catchwrestling. And I’m going to work it. I’m going to holler at (Barnett) afterhe’s done fighting (Daniel) because (Dan)’s my boy. But after that fight, I’mgoing 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
Eddie Goldman: All right, I don’t know contractually could you compete in anyof these catch tournaments that are going on which really you’re - are amateurtournaments at this point. Can you do that or you’ve just got to stick with TNAand Bellator?
King Mo: Well, it’s like this, I’m not sure if I would because I’m not tryingto 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 ofyour vacation in a few years and here’s something that might delay it or ruinit. Do you have plans to do more international work with Bellator outside ofNorth America particularly with the developing Asian anime organizations?Obviously, you know, Mo and ((inaudible)) and is pretty well known in Asia atthis point. Any plans to do something with them?
Bjorn Rebney: Yes, absolutely. I mean, look, one of the magical things we’vegot going here is that Impact’s got great reach internationally in terms oftheir content and their shows. Bellator has got some spectacular reachinternationally 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 newpan regional deal with Celestial Tiger in Asia which is averaging huge numbersper show. So the saturation that we’re seeing overseas, and you know it betterthan anybody in terms of the history of wrestling, one of the reasons thatwrestling has had such success overseas internationally is because they set theframework vis a vis doing television. We’re enjoying great television successoverseas in a lot of territories right now and ultimately that’ll set the tableand already is setting the table for some international events. You know, itcould be in Asia. Mo has had great success in Asia. Mo has looked like amillion dollars over there and could ultimately find ourselves in SouthAmerica, Europe and some other territories where we’re hitting some greatnumbers and (Pre Mel), our international distribution partner has just beenknocking the ball out of the park for us. So yes, that table is being set rightnow and we can see ourselves doing some international events in the next yearto 18 months and Mo would surely be a great person to have in them because he’sgoing to have these two epic platforms, vis a vis, Impact and Bellator andSpike to set the table for him.
Eddie Goldman: All right, thank you. Congrats to everybody and I hope all thisworks out.
Male: Okay, everybody, I believe that’s the last question. Thank you all forjoining us. Again, hit me up if you’d like a transcript. It should be availabletomorrow morning. Thanks everybody.
Dixie Carter: Thank you guys.
Operator: Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, that does conclude today’sconference call. We’d like to thank you all for your participation.