The Nevada State Athletic Commission voted unanimously on Tuesday to fine and suspend Muhammed Lawal after a positive test for anabolic steroids in January.
Lawal’s second-round stoppage of Lorenz Larkin on Jan. 7 was overturned to a no-contest, as such he was required to forfeit a $15,000 win bonus. The commission also fined Lawal (9-1) 30 percent of his purse to the tune of $24,000, and suspended the Strikeforce light heavyweight nine months retroactive to the date of the fight. He must also produce a clean urinalysis the next time he applies for a license in the state.
Lawal contested neither the results of the test nor the commission’s authority to hold him accountable.
“Whatever punishment you put in front of me,” Lawal said, “I’m a man and will take it like a man.”
After the hearing, Lawal took to Twitter and was critical, specifically about questioning from Zuffa commissioner Pat Lundvall as discussion turned to Lawal’s pre-fight medical questionnaire.
Lundvall asked Lawal, a native of Tennessee, about his ability to read or speak English.
Lawal sent out a profanity-laced tweet about the first woman to chair the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
The 31-year-old fighter went on to clarify that he did not condemn the entire commission, only Lundvall, whose question he described as “insulting, prejudice and a lil racist.”
In the wake of Lawal’s tweets, which since have been deleted, Zuffa released the wrestler from his contract. Lawal’s manager, Mike Kogan, told ESPN.com the tweets regarding Lundval were Zuffa’s justification for the dismissal.
In regards to Lawal’s positive drug test, Kogan and the fighter claimed metabolites of the anabolic steroid drostanolone entered the fighter’s system via an over-the-counter supplement which he ingested weeks prior to the bout with Larkin.
Lawal claimed he used the supplement, S Mass Lean Gainer, to help strengthen an injured knee. He has since undergone surgery on the knee but suffered from complications, including several infections. Lawal was forced to pay out of pocket for the surgery because he was not covered by insurance.
Lawal purchased the supplement in April 2010 and used it sparingly, he said. S Mass Lean Gainer was classified as containing anabolic agents in June 2011, Kogan told the NSAC, yet Lawal remained unaware of the change until the positive test.
Drostanolone is effective in helping users maintain strength during the weight-cutting process, Dr. Timothy Trainor testified Tuesday.
While Lawal and Kogan maintained that fighters are inherently responsible for what they put into their bodies, Kogan chastised the supplement industry for “purposely and maliciously” putting tainted products on the market.
The commissioners noted, however, that over-the-counter and prescribed medications Lawal later admitted to using near the fight were not listed on the state’s pre-bout medical questionnaire. Lawal and Kogan signed the document under oath.