(Photo via Bellator.)
By Elias Cepeda
Bellator light heavyweight Muhammed Lawal remembers the moment when the switch flipped for him regarding Emanuel Newton. Before they fought this past February at Bellator 90, the former training partners were respectful of one another in public statements.
After Newton shocked Lawal and the world with a spinning backfist KO in the first round, however, “The Hardcore Kid” began to suggest that Lawal had simply received his comeuppance for being cocky. To Lawal, who says he made an effort to not trash talk Newton because of their mutual friend Antonio McKee, it was a criticism that came out of nowhere and it created harder feelings than simply losing had engendered.
“A friend told me that [Newton] had said I was cocky and got what I deserved in an interview and I was like, ‘what?’” Newton remembers. (Ed note: I’d like to think it was one of those extended, overly-dramatic “Say WHAAAAAAAAT?” kind of whats. I’m not even here. -Danga)
It’s not that Lawal is unaware of how he comes off when he saunters into the ring or cage wearing a crown and a cape, it’s just that he didn’t expect to be called that after a fight where he’d made a special effort to not do much trash-talking.
“I don’t know what he’s doing. Maybe he’s trying to play to the media so they can write about him, but I didn’t go into that fight cocky and I didn’t fight cocky. I know the mistake I made in that fight and it was a mistake I’d made before and was working on.”