Sulaimán boxed as an amateur and has served as a trainer, promoter, referee, and judge. However, he is best known as an administrator for more than three decades. At the age of 16, he was on the boxing commission in San Luis Potosí, Mexico. In 1968, he joined the World Boxing Council (WBC) and quickly moved through the ranks. On December 5, 1975, Sulaiman was unanimously elected president of the WBC and has served in that capacity ever since.
Under Sulaiman's leadership, the WBC has instituted many new rules and regulations regarding boxers' safety and welfare. Among the changes are the reduction of world championship bouts from 15 rounds to 12, the official weigh-in 24 hours prior to each bout, the creation of intermediate weight divisions, the creation of the World Medical Congress, the introduction of the attached thumb glove and the funding of brain injury research programs at UCLA. During Sulaiman's tenure, the WBC has sanctioned over 1,100 title bouts and 300 boxers have won world titles. Truly a worldwide organization, Sulaiman has expanded the WBC's global reach to now include 161 affiliated nations.
Outside of boxing, Sulaiman, who speaks Spanish, English, Arabic, Italian, Portuguese and French, successfully operates a medical supply company in Mexico.
Sulaiman is also a very controversial figure. Journalist Matthew Hurley wrote, "How he was ever voted into the International Boxing Hall Of Fame is beyond me." 
Sulaiman has been accused of corruption numerous times. For example, many in the boxing community have accused the WBC of bending its rules to suit promoter Don King. The late journalist Jack Newfield wrote that Sulaiman "became more King's junior partner than his independent regulator."  Another journalist, Peter Heller, echoed that comment, writing, "Sulaiman...became little more than an errand boy for Don King." Heller quoted British promoter Mickey Duff as saying, "My complaint is that José Sulaimán is not happy his friend Don King is the biggest promoter in boxing. Sulaiman will only be happy when Don King is the only promoter in boxing." 
After Pernell Whitaker lost a controversial decision to Jose Luis Ramirez in 1988, Whitaker's trainer, Lou Duva, called Sulaiman "a thief" and Whitaker's manager, Shelly Finkel, said, "King and Sulaiman fixed the fight, no question about it." 
- International Boxing Hall of Fame.
- (Spanish) El Universal
- East Side Boxing September 26, 2007.
- Newfield, Jack (1995). Only In America. New York, New York: William & Morrow Co. p. 141. ISBN 0-688-10123-2.
- Heller, Peter (1988). Bad Intentions: The Mike Tyson Story. New York, New York: New American Library. p. 143. ISBN 0-688-10123-2.
- Knockout magazine (Fall 1993).
- The New York Times December 20, 1990.