Mo Lawal’s dismissal emphasizes need for Zuffa policy on Twitter ()


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"King" Mo Lawal was cut from Strikeforce yesterday. He received a suspension from the Nevada Athletic Commission for testing positive for a banned substance after his January win over Lorenz Larkin. Shortly after his hearing with the NAC, Lawal called a commissioner a racist b**** over Twitter. According to Strikeforce's Scott Coker, Lawal's reaction was to blame for the dismissal.

Calling a woman the b-word is wrong, no matter the circumstances, which is exactly what I told Lawal yesterday. He's been a friend of mine since long before either of us were involved in MMA, so I told him what I would tell any friend of mine. If you don't want it said about your mother, you shouldn't say it about any woman. Though I don't know if I influenced his decision, he deleted the tweet not long after.

What he tweeted was wrong, but he should not have lost his job, just like Miguel Torres should not have lost his job late last year. I didn't think Torres should have lost his job then, nor did I think Forrest Griffin should have lost his job over a tweet about rape, or Rashad Evans over his comment about child abuse, or Joe Rogan for calling me the c-word, or White for calling MMA reporter Loretta Hunt the b-word.

What every one of these cases called for is punitive action. Some combination of a reprimand, a fine that will benefit the aggrieved parties, a public apology, a suspension, and corrective action like sensitivity training would be more appropriate than being fired. The offender would be more likely to learn something from their offenses than if they suddenly have to look for a job, or if there had been little done about the offense.

The problem, once again, is that Zuffa has no policy on fighter (and commentator) behavior. A fighter doesn't know if he's crossed the line until he's crossed it. Fighters can't even learn from each other's actions because there is no consistency on how incidents are treated. Considering how White called Hunt the same word that Lawal to describe the commissioner and then never apologized for it (he only apologized for using a slur against homosexuals), how could Lawal know Zuffa would have a problem with it?

The UFC usually holds their fighters' summit in June. It's the end of March. They have a few months to formulate a policy that is clear and fair to fighters.

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