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Tom Lawlor on loss of walkout characters: 'They don't make a Don Frye Reebok mustache'

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CHICAGO -- Another little slice of personality has been wiped out in the UFC's new corporate era.

Veteran Tom Lawlor will return to action Saturday night, when he meets Gian Villante in a UFC on FOX 16 light heavyweight bout at United Center.

But one thing will be missing when Lawlor competes for the first time in three years: His trademark character role-play for weigh-ins and walkouts.

Lawlor has done spot-on impersonations of everyone from Dan Severn to Apollo Creed to the "Just Bleed" guy over the years, but with the Reebok uniform code in effect, those are now a thing of the past.

"What am I going to do?" Lawlor asked on Thursday. "I can't dress up. Reebok doesn't make a bunch of different outfits for me to wear. They don't make a Paul Varelans outfit. I can't throw on a singlet and lifts that make me 6-foot-8. They don't make a Reebok Don Frye mustache, stuff like that, so I'm kind of stuck just being myself."

This also means Lawlor won't be able to reprise the one act he's always wanted to take to the big stage.

"My favorite one wasn't in the UFC, it was a New Kids on the Block "Hangin' Tough" theme," Lawlor said. "I had the full outfit, I had a headset on, I practiced the dance, I went out there and went nuts for the five minutes of that song. Unfortunately, I never got to do that in the UFC."

Of course, Lawlor has more serious business on his hands, as he returns from an extremely long absence to face a heavy hitter like Villante.

"It's been a long road to recovery, I had a really bad knee injury, it's taken a couple of surgeries, you know, I've been in the gym, I was ready to fight last year and had another injury and had to pull out. It's not as if I've been sitting around doing nothing the past few years. I've been out there training, I've been busting my ass in the gym, but I just haven't been able to fight."