Percy Crawford: When she initially asked the question if Mo could read and speak English, you brought up a good point in saying she didn't ask Mike Pyle the same question, and I've heard from several sources he kind of mumbled his way through the process. How did the questions initially strike you?
Mike Kogan: First, I was a little confused. I was like, "Is this woman asking if this man speaks English?" And then she went on and said, "Can you read and write in English?" I'll be honest with you, I was in shock. I really was. I was like, "This woman just asked this man if he can speak English in the middle of a f------ hearing, after he had been speaking to her for 20 minutes already answering all of these questions."
I understand that she is a trial attorney, so she might be used to that line of questioning when it comes to witnesses. I wish this was a goddamn trial. I wish there was a judge and jury. I wish we could present evidence. I wish we could bring in experts and I wish we could have upheld the same standards that a trial would have upheld. Then we would have been in a lot better shape. Then she could have asked him if he speaks English, Swahili, Nairobi, and take DNA for all the f--- I care because we would have had a lot more to show and a lot more to prove.
But we sat down in front of a commission, who basically judges on their own and makes a decision on their own. They look at facts, yes, but ultimately, when you sit down in front of a commission, you're guilty and the only way you can prove yourself or even give circumstances is if you can prove 20 people held you down and shoved the pill up your ass or something. That's the only way you can do it.
The point I'm making is if she wanted to hold this hearing up to the same standards of a court of law as a commissioner, then she should probably make some motions to change the proceedings that will make it more to follow the procedures that go on in a court, and have a panel or jury or due process or somebody else that we can talk to. But none of that happened, so her stance was completely uncalled for. So trial attorney or not, as that may well be, she is a commissioner and her job is to be professional and not biased, and if she's asking Mo Lawal to be professional and be responsible for what he puts in his mouth, then she should take responsibility for what comes out of hers.
PC: Mo went down there out of respect for the commission and to also give his side of the series of events that took place, but he went under great duress because he's not physically well.
MK: Yeah, the last thing that Mo needs right now is to fly around and go to the commissions. If there were some other motions or some other athletes that were being asked to do things, and the only one that showed up really was Mike Pyle because he already lives in Las Vegas. We felt that it would be disrespectful to the commission to discuss the issue of default and we wanted to face them face to face, so we flew up there.
And in the beginning of the hearing, the chairman of the commission, and I don't remember his name, but the chairman of the commission established that Mo understood the proceedings, understood the charges against him, understood what he has legal rights to and what he doesn't, and all of these kinds of things, so for the commission to say this is standard procedure, we always ask all of our athletes if they speak English and if they can read and write English, I would imagine if this is something that you establish at the beginning of the procedure, that it is true for everybody.
Now, Mike Pyle came in there mumbling that he trains and does grappling and wrestling, but he was never asked if he speaks English or not. Cheick Kongo, who was mumbling s--- in half French, wasn't asked to clarify his English speaking skills. The only athlete that gets asked that 20 minutes after he had been speaking English is a guy named Adekunle Muhammed Lawal. I wonder if she just couldn't pronounce his f------ name so she decided to come out of shape. Whatever her intentions were, they were unprofessional, they were uncalled for, and he shouldn't have to swallow it.
If you have some reporter say one crooked word about Dana, he comes out with a bee line saying the dude is a f------ moron and an idiot and he should be never allowed to report anything again. And for Mo to just sit there and accept this and swallow it is uncalled for. I wasn't asked if I could speak English. Why didn't she ask me? I was speaking there too on Mo's behalf, so if this is a matter of procedure that they make sure everybody there speaks f------ English, how come nobody asked me if I speak f------ English?
PC: You would think you would have been asked because the context in which it was asked to Mo was regarding him signing the supplement waiver in which you admitted to filling out, so you would think she would ask you or at least ask both of you guys.
MK: Yes! I said I filled it out. She goes, "Yes, both of your signatures are here. Mr. Lawal, do you speak English?" How come nobody asked me if I speak English? You just said both of our signatures were on the paper? "This is a matter of procedure." No, this is bulls---. This is a bigoted woman who thought she was gonna bully people around because that's what the f--- they are doing is bullying people around because you're gods. Well, f--- her because I won't be bullied around. Don't bully me around. I show you respect, you show me respect.
PC: Speaking of disrespectful, I thought it was pretty bad for Dana White to ignore your text of simply saying, "We would love to tell you our side." Instead, he instructs Sean Shelby to call you guys and release you from your contract. When Forrest Griffin tweeted something he didn't agree with, he called Forrest and got his side.
MK: We don't have a relationship with Dana White. He's never called us for anything.
He has a relationship with Forrest Griffin and they have each other's phone numbers. If you remember the last time Dana White made a reference to Mo, he said, "I don't know who this Mo Lawal is, but he needs to keep his mouth shut," or something like that. I don't remember quite what it was.
The truth of the matter is, and I have said this in previous interviews, it's their company and they run it however they want to run it or see fit, and I don't have a problem with it, and neither does Mo. If they see fit to release him, then that's fine too and that's just the way that things are.
My problem or my grief is with an athletic commission commissioner; a woman that is supposed to be enforcing adequate professionalism is sitting there 20 minutes into a goddamn interview singling out the only person in there that had a weird f------ name and she asked him if he speaks f------ English after 20 minutes of talking to him. To me, that's unprofessional, uncalled for, and unacceptable. That's it.
What Dana White wants to do and who he wants to fire and call or not call himself, that's somebody else's problem because it's irrelevant. I don't really care.
PC: Obviously the main thing is getting Mo healthy right now, but what's the process? Are you entertaining calls for him now or do you wait 'till he's healthy to present him to people and organizations?
MK: The man's gotta earn a living and I don't see us going back to Zuffa anytime soon. I see a lot of people have made a reference to Alistair Overeem being cut and then being resigned. I don't think that's going to happen. I mean, we had a Zuffa contract. Once you get cut, what are you going to do, get cut from one Zuffa contract and then make you sign another one? It's ridiculous.
So we have already had calls coming in and people are interested. We're going to talk it out. Mo will be ready to fight in 6 months, so there is no reason to sit around and wait until after he' healthy. The man's gotta eat. Let's not forget he has medical bills that piled up to the ying yang that he's gotta pay for out of his pocket, so things aren't great right now.
PC: Yeah, this definitely hasn't been a good year, but there are so many contradicting situations that have been going on within this organization lately.
MK: You know, like I said, the only thing I want to comment on is her unprofessional comments that were uncalled for, and in my and Mo's judgment, very racist. He's faced these kinds of comments in the past and he knows how they were said. And if you were sitting there and you were looking at her with her smug face and her "I am God" condescending attitude, you would have known what she was saying.
She got a little carried away and there is nobody there to smack them on the hand. They are the gods. so that doesn't mean that I have to take it or Mo has to take it. And if the consequences are getting fired or getting cut and spending the rest of your life fighting for $2,000, that's fine, but if the flip side of it is to become a house nigga and hop up and down and give it to you up the ass, then f--- that! I'll take the other alternative.