Former Strikeforce Lightheavyweight champion Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal recently tested positive for the Performance Enhancing Drug Drostanolone in a post fight urinalysis administered by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. At a hearing on Monday Lawal was NSAC-Commissioner/" target="_blank">sharply questioned by NSAC Commissioner Pat Lundvall, who at one point asked "Can you read English?"
The NSAC ultimately declared Lawal's win over Larkin a No Contest, fined him $39,000 (30% percent of his $80,000 show purse, and 100% of his $15,000 win bonus, suspended for nine months, and he is subject to further testing in order to be relicensed.
Lawal took offense at the questioning by Lundvall, and a short time later called her a "racist b---" on twitter. He was shortly thereafter released by Strikeforce parent company ZUFFA.
Debate followed in the MMA community about whether Lundvall's questioning was racist or at the very least insensitive, or whether it was an appropriate and warranted question by a woman who has been described as one of Nevada's top trial lawyers.
The issue in no small part hinges on whether or not Lundvall has used identical language with a caucasian fighter in the past.
It turns out she has, as detailed in a piece by Kevin Iole.
On March 23, 2011, boxer Michael Shane Steele tested positive for an anabolic steroid. Steele, who is white, appeared before the commission on May 20, 2011, and underwent rigorous questioning from Lundvall. According to a commission transcript, the following exchange took place between Lundvall and Steele:
Pat Lundvall: Do you have any other information that you are willing to share with the Commission to explain why you tested positive for banned substances?
Michael Steele: None. Only the supplements I took and what I was trying to accomplish in taking them.
PL: Do you read English?
MS: Yes, ma'am.
PL: Do you understand the written word?
MS: Yes, I believe so.
While the questioning was undoubtedly unpleasant, it is now abundantly apparant that it was not racist.
It is now incumbent on Lawal to offer a public and private apology, heal up fast, take the highest paying fights available, and hopefully work his way back quickly into the highest levels of the sport.
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