Ali On Size and Ethnicity Barriers Changing in WWE, Talks Plans For If He Wins Money in the Bank

Posted By Caroline Walsh on 05/19/19

Ali spoke with Yahoo! Sports for a new interview promoting tonightís menís Money in the Bank match. Highlights are below:

Ali on his plans to establish momentum in tonightís match: ďI think you nailed it when you said the word momentum. This is the go-home show for ĎMoney in the Bankí and everyone is jockeying for position. Momentum is such an important aspect as a performer. I feel like Iím the new guy on the block still and I need to earn my keep. Two weeks ago I was able to stand tall, but Randy Orton laid me and Andrade out. Momentum is on his side and I would like to change that tonight. If Iím able to outlast the competitors on the Smackdown brand itíll be just what I need to conquer the ĎRawí ones on Sunday. A lot of those guys have their eyes set on ĎMoney in the Bank,í but I have my sights set on tonight. It should be crazy itís the first time all four of us are in there mingling it up this way. I still feel like I have a lot to prove and tonight is going to be the first step in doing that.Ē

Ali on changing up his schedule and habits for Ramadan: ďRamadan consists of fasting for 30 days, abstaining from food and water from sunrise to sunset. I have to make these changes as to not hinder my performance or inhibit my work. A typical day when Iím not fasting, Iíll wake up, have a light breakfast and hit the gym for two, two and a half hours depending on what that dayís circuit is. Iíd follow that up with a nice-sized meal, get to the arena, eat throughout the day and then perform that night. When Iím fasting, itís completely different. What Iíll do is Iíll perform at night and then break my fast. Iíll eat my first big meal of the day at night and then when I get to the next town Iíll train in the middle of the night. Iíll have these midnight, 1am, 2am workouts which are cardio-based and Iím able to replenish my body and drink water as needed to train as hard as I can. Iíll then have another big meal before sunrise when I go to sleep and start my fast again. Itís a little tricky. Sometimes after a performance itís hard, especially if you get banged up during the match. Everyone talks about how itís hard, that youíre giving up food and water, but thatís not how you should look at it. Iím not giving up anything, Iím actually gaining something, which is perspective. Iím gaining the perspective that as I walk through the day and have that thirst in my mouth or rumbling in my stomach, I have that realization that there are people all across the world that have this feeling and they donít know when their next meal or sip of water is. Iím fortunate enough to know that within a few hours, I will have access to those things. Thatís what itís really about.Ē

Ali on speaking out online against bigotry: ďIt feels so weird to say, but it kind of feels like a responsibility. WWE has given me such a huge platform so why shouldnít I do some good in the world? I could just post about myself and about my work schedule and whatever but I have this ability to change minds and I know I have. Iíve seen the messages and comments where people say that Iíve really impacted them. Thatís the crazy thing about this day and age. We always hear about the negatives of social media and how time consuming it is and how obsessed people are, but thereís plenty of good that can come from it. Iím able to connect and influence people who may not have access to me. Iím still able to reach them. Iím always about positivity. To me, itís kind of like Iím defeating [negative] people by responding to them. People will say that people of my religion are violent, barbaric and hateful, but that person will leave a hateful comment. If I respond back in peace and wishing them clarity and perspective, Iíve kind of defeated their comment. Donít respond in a hateful manner because that proves their point. To me itís about being the light in the dark.Ē

Ali on size and ethnicity barriers changing in WWE: ďGuys like Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler, theyíre responsible for breaking down those size barriers. When we were coming up, yeah, size was an issue. I wrestled Ricochet many times and we talked about our aspirations and it was always ĎThey donít sign small guys.í Now, when you look at the roster today, it is the most culturally diverse, athletic roster in the companyís history. If you look up and down you have people from all over the world who are phenomenal performers. I couldnít be more proud to be part of the roster right now and it speaks volumes about WWEís mission for representation and action. Iím stoked for what the future holds.Ē

Ali on his momentum since his return: ďIím always going to be that guy that is [somewhat in awe]. Iím at the arena looking at the poster and seeing my face thinking Ďholy crap, thatís me.í Iím always going to be that way because I remember being in the stands watching, I remember being a police officer and watching WrestleMania in my squad car. I always will have that perspective. Iíve got all of the confidence in the world because I have been doing this for 17 years. I didnít find out about ĎFastlaneí and that I was competing in that match until an hour before it was going to take place. They came to me and said: ĎYouíre in the championship match and itís a triple threat.í I thought they were playing a joke on me, but they said Ďno, weíre serious, get your stuff and go out there.í To go out there and get booed Ė and the circumstance was that people wanted to see Kofi and instead they saw me Ė I understood it. I walk into a championship match, get booed and then come back to a standing ovation and everyone backstage giving me an ovation, I have all of the confident and momentum in the world right now. ĎMoney in the Bankí is a chance for me to change my life.Ē

On how he plans to cash in if he wins the Money in the Bank briefcase: ďI think that speaks volumes about oneís character, how they would approach that situation and take advantage of that opportunity. I just want a one-on-one WWE championship opportunity. If I win the contract, I donít believe Iím the type of person who would cash it in when someone is down. Iíd look that person in the eye, tell them when I was cashing it in and make the match official. I realize people may say itís crazy, but itís how I want to do it. I donít want an asterisk next to my name.Ē