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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
After his fight with Lorenz Larkin in January, Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal underwent surgery to repair a torn ACL. But that surgery ended up turning into something very serious, as it started coming out in the last few days that Lawal had endured some serious complications.
While some reports stated that the issues had him in financial peril due to high medical costs, that has since been refuted. However, that doesn't make what he went through medically, physically, or emotionally any less severe. Lawal explained what happened in an interview with Luke Thomas and R.J. Clifford of SiriusXM's Fight Club this week.
"Alright here's the thing. All this happened like three weeks ago but I didn't tell nobody," Lawal began (transcribed by BloodyElbow.com). I was in the hospital with people texting me and I was trying to keep it like nothing was going on so there wouldn't be any red flags. But what happened was I had surgery after the fight. I had ACL and microfracture [surgery]. The ACL wasn't a big deal but the microfracture was a bigger deal in my cartilage. One of the sutures got infected and I had to go to the hospital the day after the Rashad Evans-Phil Davis fight. I got blood taken out of my knee and taken to a lab."
"I was at my manager's crib," he continued, "Mike Kogan's crib, and all of the sudden my doctor's like 'hey, you've gotta come to the hospital right now'. And this is right after Chael won. So I went to the hospital before the Rashad Evans/Phil Davis fight and I watched the fight at the hospital. Then went into the surgery spot and woke up with the pick line in my arm and they were telling me I would be in there till Monday. I figured I'd go in there and clear my knee out and I'd be out the same night or the next night but I was in there till Monday."
"Then they checked out my knee again and took the temperature and the knee was still hot and swelling up. They decided to take me back into surgery to do another flush procedure to get the staph infection out. In twelve days I had five procedures to remove the staph and I'm staph free now. But now they've pushed IV medicine through my PICC line that's connected to my heart through my arm every day for six weeks."
Suffice to say, it's been a very trying month for Lawal, from his steroid test failure which he attributed to a supplement and on to this situation, and he spoke to the effect it has had on him.
"This is the toughest thing I've ever experienced in my life," he said. "The hardest that I've experienced in my life. Spiritually and emotionally, man I'll put it like this. I'm not religious at all. I was born to a Muslim family. Man this had me thinking I had to purchase the Quran and get back to my faith and start having more talks with Allah. Seeing my teammates come see me, it broke me down a few times man. Coach Mendez came and saw me a lot. Coach Bob [Cook], Paul Buentello, Dan Cormier... people on the team. Jermain Ramsey and Jenna... Phil. I just had so many people contact me and come through it was tough man. It pushed me. Mentally I'll be a stronger person. I know I'll be stronger and I'll be a better fighter."
Penick's Analysis: This is a really unfortunate situation for Lawal or anyone to have to go through, and at the very least I hope his physical recovery comes along as fast as possible. Emotionally and mentally, this is something that could stick with him for awhile. There were reports that the staph was so bad he came close to needing his leg amputated, and while it's possible that was a bit extreme, even the thought of that for a minute for a professional would be devastating. Much like Brock Lesnar's career-threatening diverticulitis, it's possible this is something that stays with Lawal for some time, and it would take time for anyone to get over something like this. Hopefully for his sake it's something he can work past and recover to his fullest by the time he's able to return.
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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