Former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion let go
By just about any standard, it’s been a pretty rough run of things for Muhammed Lawal the last couple of months. And on Tuesday, it got even rougher when he was released from his Zuffa contract following a Twitter outburst.
“Following the outcome of (Tuesday’s) hearing with the Nevada State Athletic Commission and his subsequent reaction, Strikeforce has released Muhammed Lawal from his contract,” Coker said.
“King Mo,” a former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion, tested positive for performance enhancing drugs following his last fight, a knockout win over Lorenz Larkin on Jan. 7. On Tuesday, Lawal appeared before the Nevada State Athletic Commission, which was ruling on his punishment. Ultimately, the NSAC voted unanimously to suspend Lawal for nine months and fined him $39,000 – that’s 30 percent ($24,000) of his $80,000 purse for that fight, plus his $15,000 win bonus. Additionally, the victory was overturned from a win to a no contest.
But after the hearing, Lawal took to his Twitter account to rant not necessarily about the fine and suspension, but one particular commission member, Pat Lundvall, and one portion of her line of questioning. Audio from the hearing obtained by MMA Weekly shows Lundvall asking Lawal if he understands and reads English.
“You signed this (application) that you filled out, did you not?” Lundvall asked Lawal, to which Lawal replied he did. “And you understand English? And you read English?”
Lawal inferred that Lundvall was racist in her line of questioning and called her a derogatory name in a Twitter post that has since been removed. “I honestly feel like Lundvall was a racist (b***h) asking me if I can read or speak English. Go on somewhere with that bull(s**t),” Lawal said.
Lawal further claimed on Twitter that he went to the hearing to take responsibility for the banned substance being in his system, and was respectful to the commission – but believes Lundvall’s questions toward him were over the line. But as UFC and Zuffa president Dana White showed in December by firing Miguel Torres after a Twitter “joke” post involving rape, his fighters are asked to use “common sense” in what they post on social media – and Lawal’s response to Lundvall may have been too inflammatory. (Torres was later brought back by the UFC.)
“Zuffa made a decision just off what was said on Twitter,” Lawal told Stephie “Crooklyn” Daniels in a guest post at Bloody Elbow. “I don’t know if they care about what happened. I’m pretty sure they didn’t hear any of the audio. They just made a decision off what went down on Twitter. I’m pretty sure Keith Kizer and certain people at the commission are mad and I didn’t mean any disrespect to Keith or the rest of the people in the commission. I just felt disrespected by that one person that asked if I could speak or read English. To me, that was a blatant insult. Just listen to the audio. You’ll see.”
Lawal has been dealing with the effects of more than a dozen surgeries following a staph infection that arose after knee surgery. While he was going to need time off from that injury and the staph aftereffects regardless, he now apparently will be looking for a new fighting home when he does return.
Lawal (8-1, 1 NC) is an NCAA Division I All-American and Division II national champion wrestler. He started his MMA career 7-0, winning the Strikeforce 205-pound title against Gegard Mousasi in April 2010. But he lost it in his first defense against Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante in August 2010.