More than a year after he competed in Oscar De La Hoya's one-and-done MMA promotional outing, former UFC light heavyweight "Filthy" Tom Lawlor will return to mixed martial arts in 2020, signing a deal with the Professional Fighters League where he'll compete to win $1 million.
Announcing the news in an interview with Ariel Helwani Wednesday, the 36-year-old said he views the opportunity as a golden lottery ticket. Lawlor is currently signed to a deal with MLW and also works indies around the country which is expected to continue.
The former World Series of Fighting relaunched as the PFL and held their inaugural season under their new format in 2018. Fighters in six different weight classes compete in two fights earlier in the year to make their version of the playoffs in the fall. That consists of eight person, single elimination tournaments where fighters compete twice in a night in order to advance to the finals. If they win the finals scheduled for New Year's Eve, they take home $1 million.
Lawlor, the co-host of the weekly Filthy Four Daily podcast on this website, doesn't have a date or opponent for his first yet, but the PFL season runs from May through August. They have not announced their schedule as of yet.
Lawlor was suspended by USADA in November 2016 for two years for testing positive for ostarine. While he claimed his innocence throughout, his requests to be released were denied until the UFC randomly released him two months before that suspension was up. As more fighters tested positive for ostarine that earned significantly shorter sentences, USADA released a statement to MMA Fighting in April 2019 saying that Lawlor could have challenged the claim with an independent arbitrator and been eligible for a shorter suspension had the case happened in 2019.
Lawlor (10-7-0-1) last fought in the UFC in March 2016, losing a close decision to Corey Anderson. In the aforementioned De La Hoya event, he lost to current UFC middleweight Deron Winn.