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In this edition of The Doggy Bag, readers find themselves drawn into the latest madness surrounding Muhammed Lawal, as the outspoken former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion’s recent rendezvous with the Nevada Athletic Commission turned into high drama and a pink slip for “King Mo.” Readers have not entirely forgotten why Lawal was in front of the commission, either: as it so often does, some steroid talk manages to wiggle its way into our pages.
Do not worry; this is not your garden variety mailbag from the MMA echo chamber. As usual, this week’s Doggy Bag touches on a host of wonderful whatnots, from the UFC’s plans in the “Great Fight North,” some of 2012’s best events that might have gone under your radar, MMA’s potential statistical revolution and Bellator’s lightweight tournament.
After watching [Muhammed “King] Mo” Lawal’s hearing [before the Nevada Athletic Commission], I have so many questions. For starters, how can commissioners treat professional athletes like this? I know figuring out if someone speaks English is important, but it seemed like they were just trying to be insulting. Also, this is the same commission that gave Nate Marquardt a slap on the wrist [in 2005] -- five months and no fine -- for practically the exact same thing Lawal did. I know commissions are taking heat over [testosterone replacement therapy] and steroids now, but can we get some consistency? -- Ricky from Grand Forks
Brian Knapp, features editor: There is no defense for the indefensible.
Some fans, many of us in the media and one has to assume plenty of state athletic commission members are suffering from a bit of excuse fatigue when it comes to professional athletes who test positive for banned substances and their insistence on playing the same tired card: the it-entered-my-system-through-an-over-the-counter-supplement defense. Does anyone actually believe this nonsense anymore?
Whether or not Lawal’s positive test -- he was flagged for Drostanolone, an anabolic steroid, following his Jan. 7 bout with Lorenz Larkin -- was supplement-related matters little in the grand scheme of things. As a professional fighter and former champion, he should know what he is putting into his body at all times. The banned substance was in his system, and it was his fault it was there. End of story.
“King Mo” did nothing to improve his position when he went on an ill-advised Twitter rant and referred to Pat Lundvall as a “racist bitch” after the NAC commissioner reportedly asked him if he could read and understand English as it pertained to the standard pre-fight questionnaire that requires fighters to list any supplements they are taking, as well as any injuries they may have sustained. You are asking for trouble when you refer to a woman in such derogatory fashion in this day and age. Ask Bill Maher and Rush Limbaugh. Hence, Lawal’s release from the Zuffa LLC family should come as no great surprise.
Offended or not, it would have been wise for Lawal to bite his tongue publicly and take his medicine, even if the commissioner in question stepped way out of bounds. Unless, as some have suggested, it was a procedural step by the NAC to eliminate a possible defense, Lundvall deserves some heat here, too. Asking a college-educated man in his 30s whether or not he can read was, on the surface, unbefitting of a person in a position of such authority and just reeks of arrogance and a lack of professionalism. There are better ways to drive home one’s point.
In regards to the Marquardt and Lawal cases, it is hard to compare the two because they took place so far apart. One tested positive in 2011, the other in 2005, when MMA was just entering its current boom and was still relatively new as a regulated entity. Yes, there needs to be some consistency on this front, but situations change over time, as do the commissions themselves. If the Marquardt test had come down today, it stands to reason that the penalty would have been steeper -- as steep as Lawal’s -- than it was seven years ago.
Continue Reading » Page Two: TJ the DJ on TRT