Former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Muhammed Lawal expects not to appeal his positive steroid test following a bout against Lorenz Larkin at Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Jardine, his manager, Mike Kogan, revealed on Monday's episode of The MMA Hour.
Nonetheless, both "King Mo" and Kogan deny the fighter knowingly ingested the banned substance Drostanolone, and instead blame the supplement S-Mass Lean Gainer by Rock Solid, which Lawal purchased at Muscle Max on the advice on an employee in April 2010.
"Since we're not contesting the findings of the commission test, we're not challenging the chain of custody, we're not pointing fingers at anybody and we're not calling for conspiracy theories, I don't believe we'll actually file an appeal per se," Kogan explained. "What we will file is an answer, and an answer would involve affirming their test results and providing our findings and our explanation."
Lawal initially purchased the product in California to help rehabilitate various injuries while training. The 31-year-old claims to have only taken the supplement intermittently and without the knowledge of Kogan.
S-Mass Lean Gainer has since been removed from the market due to the illegal substances within the supplement.
"To the best of my research, this product was taken off the shelves some time in mid-2011, for exactly the same reason that we're facing right now," Kogan said. "Its primary and only relevant ingredient of that particular product is a substance known as Methyldrostanolone, which is basically just a pill format of Drostanolone."
A simple Google search of the product leads to a description that reads, "S-Mass is the most powerful designer anabolic ever created and is probably the least expensive on the market. S-Mass represents a quality designer anabolic and an affordable price."
When confronted with the description, Lawal admitted he had not researched the supplement before ingesting it.
"When I went to Max Muscle, I figured you can't buy steroids at a Max Muscle. It's a chain store. That's like going to a grocery store and buying something illegal there," he said. "When I looked at the bottle, it just had a bunch of numbers on it. It had the ingredients. I didn't see anything that looked illegal on the bottle, to be honest with you."
Lawal's account of the over-the-counter purchase will provide the basis of his response to the Nevada State Athletic Commission. The fighter will ask for leniency, Kogan explained, due to the misinformation that led to the positive test.
"Our primary focus with the commission and the Attorney General's office is intent," Kogan said. "We had no intent of taking any illegal substance and we believe we have enough evidence and enough character references to make that point very clear."
Video of the complete interview can be seen below.