Photo by Esther Lin for Strikeforce.
This is a guest post by Stephie "Crooklyn" Daniels. Follow Stephie on Twitter @CrooklynMMA.
Following today's athletic commission hearing, which saw former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion, Muhammed Lawal fined $39,000 and suspended for nine months, Lawal took to Twitter in anger at his treatment during the hearing. I was able to get a short, on the spot interview to get the details on what prompted his comments.
Steph Daniels: Who were you addressing in your Twitter posts, and why were you upset?
Mo Lawal: It was the woman at the hearing, but I can't remember her name (ed note, it's Pat Lundvall). She asked a question that I felt was worded kind of funny. She asked if I did research for my training. I didn't get what she meant by the question, and she rolled her eyes and asked, 'Do you speak English? Can you read?' First she wanted to know if I had access to a laptop computer. I said, 'Yes, I do.' Then she asked about researching my training. I said, 'What?' That's when she rolled her eyes and asked if I could read or write. I told her, 'No, I have coaches and trainers that do that.'
The way she came at me was out of line. I was up front, and answered every question they asked.
More coverage of the King Mo suspension:
'King Mo' Lawal Suspended Nine Months, Fined $39,000 For Failed Drug Test | Strikeforce Interview: 'King' Mo Lawal Gives Update On Health And Career | Strikeforce's Muhammed 'King Mo' Lawal Says Over The Counter Supplement Caused Steroid Test Failure | 'King' Mo Lawal Tests Positive For Steroids After Strikeforce Bout
SD: Was anybody else on the panel rude or inappropriate to you?
ML: There was another guy on the panel that accused me of perjuring myself on the medicals. He said, 'So you lied on the medicals by saying you weren't injured? Didn't you have a torn ACL?' I told him that my ACL had been torn for so long, that I didn't even consider it an injury any more. When I found out about it from the doctor, he said it had been torn for a while, but I didn't know about it because it wasn't hindering my training, except for some swelling. The whole reason why I went in to get my knee cleaned up was because I didn't want osteoarthritis to set in, and we all know how that went for me. My definition of being injured, as an athlete, is a lot different than someone that's just a spectator.
I feel that was the main reason they threw the book at me. Because they felt that I perjured myself on the pre-fight medical questionnaire. I was honest and truthful with them. I gave them all the information we had gathered. They didn't even look at it. I even brought the supplement bottle to show them the writing on the label had nothing on there indicating it had steroid substances in it. It just says 'Sports supplement.' They declined to look at it when I offered it to them. I don't think they even cared.
My purpose for being there was to show them that I didn't intentionally seek out any type of performance enhancing drugs. That was my goal, and I did that. I told my side of the story. If they don't believe me, it's on them. I think they already had their minds made up. It is what it is.
Interview continued after the jump.
SD: Has anyone from ZUFFA contacted you or your management about the tweets you put out following the hearing?
ML: They contacted Mike (Kogan, Mo's manager), saying that I should never have called her a bitch. I wasn't calling her a bitch, the way you would say that to a female. To me, anybody can be a bitch. I meant it as saying she was cranky. I guess I should have said 'the cranky female', but the way she spoke to me, come on. That reminds me of stuff I used to hear in high school and college. If you don't come from the South and been the minority, it's hard to understand where I'm coming from. 'Speak English.' Nobody has every come to you and said that, but it's happened to me plenty of times. It rubbed me the wrong way, and to be honest, it hurt me.
I feel like she pre-judged me by the way I was dressed too. Obviously, I couldn't wear a suit. I mean, I have a fanny pack with a wound vac in it that has tubes running down to my knee. That has to run 24/7 for another week. I still have a PICC line in, and full wound dressings on my knee, so I'm limited on what I can wear with all that. I'm not saying she's a racist, but I feel like she pre-judged me in a sense, and I didn't like that.
SD: They fined you $39,000. Will this create a financial hardship on you?
ML: Anytime you give up money, it's hard. I guess I'm gonna find out. I went there and faced my punishment like a man. I could've stayed home and just not gone and let this happen as it would, but I went and faced them, and was willing to face punishment. They were like 'Nine months, $39,000', and it was the woman. She sat back, crossed her arms, rolled her eyes, put up the punishment, 'All in favor?' The all agreed in favor, and that was it.
SD: What will you do with all this time off?
ML: Just heal up, and then get back into training. Bust ass and train. I'm going to get with Coach Jackson at Iowa State, my AKA team, Greco coach Shon Lewis and Mike Passenier. I'm gonna get with him too.
SD: When I was wrapping the interview, Mo had one last thing to add:
ML: People try to say I'm playing the racist card. I'm not saying that. I go off my past experiences, and when someone rolls their eyes and asks if you can read or speak English, when I've already been answering their questions and speaking, in English, there's a problem. It rubbed me the wrong way, and reminded me of my negative past experiences. She might be a good woman. Maybe she's just that way at work. Who knows.
Follow Mo via his Twitter @KingMoFH