Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight contender Lavar Johnson received his walking papers from the world's largest mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion after his loss to Brendan Schaub at UFC 157 earlier this year, following a failed post-fight drug test.
But according to "Big," the positive result wasn't for taking steroids, but rather his doctor-prescribed testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), which caused his levels to be higher than normal.
The real issue, however, is that he failed to disclose that vital piece of information to the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC). The heavy-handed knockout artist talked about the situation that led to his release from ZUFFA during a recent appearance on "The MMA Hour:"
"What happened was basically I was on TRT, I just didn't disclose it to the athletic commission. It was my mistake. I was taking such little amounts; me and my doctor didn't think anything was going to pop up, like it's no big deal. I guess any time you're taking any kind of testosterone, it's going to show on the test. So that's basically what I got popped for. You know, if you take steroids they'll suspend you for a year. I wasn't taking steroids. I was prescribed [TRT] by a doctor. They suspended me for nine months, and I ended up showing them my prescription from my doctor and everything. They ended up reducing it to six months. That was it. Unfortunately, I got released from the UFC, and messed up the good opportunity. But Bellator, they believe in me, and they are going to give the opportunity and chance to showcase my skills."
Admitting it was a "dumb" mistake to not reveal his TRT usage, Johnson says he is no longer undergoing the controversial treatment because he wants to finish his career as a "natural" fighter. Furthermore, Lavar says if the day comes that he can't perform to his abilities, then he'll simply walk away from the sport.
"I just don't ever want to take the chance or anything. I'm just going to ride out my career natural. If I get hurt, or if I can't compete with these guys, then I just won't fight. A lot of people look down on [TRT]. I don't want to be that guy. I don't want people to think I need it to be a good fighter to compete with these guys. I've been knocking people out since I was like 14 years old. If I can't compete, and I keep getting injured, then I'll just be done."
His loss to "Hybrid" in Anaheim, California, marked the second straight for Johnson inside the Octagon, losing to Stefan Struve at UFC 146 nine months prior. "Big" will next take on Vinicius Queiroz at Bellator 102 in the first round of the Viacom-owned promotion's heavyweight tournament on Oct 4. 2013.
Anyone think a TRT-less Johnson can find success under the Bellator banner?