Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
“King” Mo Lawal’s day just went from bad to truly awful. After being fined and suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission in a hearing on Tuesday afternoon, the former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion has been released from the organization. The news was first reported by MMAJunkie.com, and confirmed by Lawal’s manager, Mike Kogan, to MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani.
In a brief statement over email, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker wrote only, "Following the outcome of today's hearing with the Nevada State Athletic Commission and his subsequent reaction, STRIKEFORCE has released Muhammad Lawal from his contract."
When reached for comment on Tuesday evening, Lawal told MMA Fighting that he thought his comments on Twitter aimed at NSAC commissioner Pat Lundvall were the root cause of his release.
In a tweet that has since been deleted, Lawal referred to Lundvall as a “racist b--ch” for asking him if he could speak and read English when he filled out the pre-fight questionnaire. The commission suggested that Lawal hadn’t been forthcoming in his answers about injuries and medications he’d taken before the fight, and the accusation bothered him, as he told MMA Fighting earlier today.
On Tuesday evening Lawal explained his Twitter reaction, saying, “When I showed up to the hearing, I proved that I can speak and I can read. I don’t know when, but she got mad at me, got irritated, and was like, ‘Look, can you speak and read English?’ Now to me, that’s an insult.”
He added, “Growing up through high school and college, I’d get asked, ‘Do you speak English instead of jive? Do you speak English instead of ebonics?’ For a grown woman to talk to me like that, knowing I’m a college graduate, born in America? I grew up in the south, in Tennessee, went to Oklahoma State, traveled the world, and for her to talk to me like that, that’s disrespectful.”
Earlier on Tuesday, the NSAC voted to suspend Lawal for nine months and fine him a total of $39,000 for his positive drug test for the steroid drostanolone following his win over Lorenz Larkin in a Strikeforce event on Jan. 7. The suspension is retroactive to the date of the fight, leaving him eligible to re-apply for licensing in September of 2012.
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