While the MMA world has been in a tizzy over Rampage Jackson and testosterone replacement therapy, Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal has quietly been fighting for his life.
The outstanding light heavyweight fighter was stricken with a persistent and life-threatening staph infection after undergoing fairly routine knee surgery following a January Strikeforce fight against Lorenz Larkin. Lawal is no stranger to staph, but this bout has been more severe than anything he’s experienced.
Speaking with Ben Fowlkes for Sports Illustrated recently, Lawal admitted exactly how far the infection and subsequent treatment had dragged him down.
“I got to the point where I was like, [expletive] it,” Lawal told Fowlkes. “I just felt like, hey, I’m going to quit taking this medicine, and if I die then I die. I’m tired of this stuff.”
Lawal underwent a total of fourteen surgeries, almost had to have his leg amputated and was put on a constant stream of potent antibiotics fed through a PICC (peripherally inserted central catheter) line into his heart. Though he’s still sapped of strength, having lost some thirty pounds throughout the ordeal, Lawal can see the far-off light breaking through the trees.
He’s not out of the woods yet and he has a long way to go before he’s back to normal (and there’s still the chance that Lawal’s “normal” has forever changed), but the 31-year-old has been to the brink and come back — so, everything else from here on out should be easier.
“I feel like I looked death in the face, and I survived,” Lawal said. “I’m talking death of my career, and death in life. I faced that. It was tough. It really did make me appreciate my life, just my everyday life. I used to think, not that I hated working out, but that I hated feeling tired. Now, I miss feeling tired. I miss getting punched, kicked, kneed, elbowed. I miss all that.”