Photo: Esther Lin / MMAFighting.com
This is a guest post by Stephie "Crooklyn" Daniels. Follow Crooklyn on Twitter @CrooklynMMA.
Muhammed Lawal has had a pretty rough run with his health over the last couple months. A serious staph infection after knee surgery left him hospitalized for 12 days, and warranted several trips to the emergency room for wound draining, scrapings and flushes. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 12 additional visits, by his recollection. In the midst of all this, he's also had a PICC line insertion and changed antibiotics three times. The current prescribed medication, Vancomycin, appears to finally be killing the infection. I had the chance to speak to Mo recently, to get the status of his health and his thoughts on his upcoming hearing with the athletic commission.
SD: You've had some serious issues recently that have left you in and out of the hospital. What's the current status of your health?
ML: I'm doing good now that this infection is finally starting to die off. It's taking a while, and it irritates me, but I'm doing everything right. I'm staying on this medicine, and once it's done, I'm good to go.
SD: How many procedures did you have?
ML: 10 or 11, but most were flushes, to get rid of the bacteria. I'm gonna be good. Once I finish the Vancomycin, I'll be good. I can feel a difference, because I don't have a temperature now like I used to, because I used to have a temperature every day. Now it's not happening. My CRP levels are finally coming down, and everything is getting better.
SD: How much weight have you lost since the infection first set in?
ML: Yeah, I lost some weight. I got down to 188. It's been bad.
SD: How much do you normally walk around at?
ML: I walk around anywhere from 210 to 218. I'm still ripped though [laughs]. Now I've been eating a lot. I got this weight gainer thing that's like 1200 calories per scoop, so I've been taking that twice a day. Right now my weight is back to the high 190's, almost to 200 pounds. I was 188 until about a week or so ago, though.
SD: You've been eating fairly clean for the last several years. Is this a time where you're eating everything you can, in order to get the weight back on?
ML: Definitely. I've been eating chicken, sandwiches, cereal, lots of Ensure, and my weight gainer. I'm just eating whatever I can. If I wake up at night, I try to drink three Ensures, and then go back to sleep. It's tough because even though I like to eat, I don't like to eat that much [laughs]. Eating is hard. That's why I respect Koboyashi and Joey Chestnut a lot, because they're tough.
SD: Has eating become a chore for you at this point?
ML: Pretty much, because I've been having to force myself to eat, and it's hard. I don't wish this on nobody. This has probably been the worst point in my life. It's the toughest thing I've ever dealt with. I know one thing. I'll come back stronger. I'll come back more aggressive. I'm confident that I'm going to be a better fighter because of this.
SD: Can you give an update on your athletic commission hearing?
ML: Yep. March 27 is commission time. I'll be there. I'll be speaking. I'll have all my evidence together. I really can't speak out on anything just yet, but I think that everything will come out good.
SD: If everything pans out the way you want it to, with the commission, how long would it be before you're able to get back to action, considering your recent health concerns?
ML: Once the infection is gone, I would have to stay on rehab a little bit longer, and then be cleared to start training. I'm hoping I'll be able to fight by Fall. I'd say about four months before I could really start training hard, and six months before I could fight.
SD: After all of the infections and subsequent procedures, what's your thought process about getting in there again? Is there any residual nervousness lingering about this coming back?
ML: I was real nervous, but now I'm a lot better. I've got a good infectious disease doctor and a good ortho doctor that are on top of everything. I was scared though. I thought I was going to die. I'm not feeling that way anymore, though. I'm good.
Despite the ordeal he's been through over the last 2 months, Lawal presents a very positive attitude about both his health issues and his upcoming hearing with the athletic commission. As an admitted fan and friend, I hope that he has positive results with both, and that we see him competing again soon.
Follow Mo via his Twitter @KingMoFH