First up, let me clarify that I'm a HUGE Shane Carwin fan. The guy is a terrifying force in the Octagon. He's got his weak spots and limitations like any fighter, but I honestly believe he's the most potent offensive force in MMA today.
I am also a fan of the way he engages his fans online with his web site and twitter account. The guy has done a great job of marketing himself in many ways.
But let's cut the crap. Carwin is not doing himself any favors by pulling out of his UFC 125 fight against Roy Nelson. Unless his back is so severely injured that he has no choice but get the surgery he would be better off sucking it up, fighting hurt and getting the surgery after this fight if he still believes it to be necessary.
Why do I say this? Let me count the ways in the full entry.
UPDATE: From Shane-Carwin.com:
Update for my BE.com friends. I have been fighting injured for three years. I have done all of the things that "possibly could reduce the pain", in the end the problem continues to come back. I have spent a week getting treatments and the pain has been increasing. I really do not have a choice in the matter. Most managers need to milk all they can from fighters but mine is putting my interest ahead of what is best for him. That is actually a good thing.
I am getting a second opinion tonight but if he suggest surgery then I will be going that route. I have made up my mind that this is the likely outcome. With or without surgery I would face a 8-12 week recovery (no contact) time and not be ready for 125. My "options" are do surgery and repair it or spend 12 weeks recovering and apply a band aid and march on. I plan of fighting for a long time and while I may not be getting any younger I have certainly taken way less damage then anyone else in the UFC with as many fights as I have. Aside from Gonzaga breaking my nose I have not been hurt in any of my fights. So repairing my self so I can be at my best for the best part of my career is actually a really good idea.
To anyone questioning my ability to pass any test, I say bring it. I have and will always pass my test.
- Carwin himself says the surgery is optional.
That's not the kind of message to put out in a public forum. Dana White doesn't want to hear that. If Carwin needs to have the surgery, the thing to say is, "My fans know I wouldn't miss this fight if there were any other alternative, but I have to listen to the doctors and do what's best for my health."
- Dana White and the UFC NEED Shane Carwin on this card.
UFC 125 is headlined by Frankie Edgar vs Gray Maynard. As talented as those two fighters are, they are not major PPV draws. It's a sad fact that lightweight fights don't sell as well as heavyweight fights and Frankie Edgar is not a star like B.J. Penn who can overcome that. Not to mention that many fans consider both Edgar and Maynard to be boring fighters to watch. Then there's the utter lack of personality or smack talk from either Edgar or Maynard. Not a recipe for a big New Year's card. Shane Carwin vs Roy Nelson was the perfect co-main. Heavyweight contenders with awesome KO highlight reels. Carwin fought in one of the biggest PPVs in UFC history at UFC 116 and Nelson was featured on the highest rated season of TUF ever. Plus both guys are willing to talk smack and promote themselves.
- Shane is already likely on thin ice with the UFC.
Carwin got linked to a federal steroids prosecution after his UFC 116 fight. While Dana White didn't publicly pile on, that's not the kind of news he wants his fighters making. Not to mention the whole pre-UFC 116 controversy when Carwin and his manager Jason Genet told Bloody Elbow that they were limiting the amount of fight promotion Carwin would do for his title shot against Brock Lesnar to the bare minimum because they were not getting a % of the PPV money. They quickly retracted and attempted to burn our reporter when the UFC objected. Carwin's tweets last week about the UFC banning one of his sponsors couldn't have helped anything either. Things like that linger in the mind of Dana White. Ask Todd Duffee.
- Shane Carwin is older and near the peak of his athletic years.
Does Carwin really have the time to take off for a risky back surgery? Back surgeries are high risk and low reward propositions for athletes. They often don't work at all. Ask Tito Ortiz. Carwin needs to be striking while the iron is hot and keeping himself in the good graces of the UFC and in the forefront of fans' minds. The UFC heavyweight division has seemingly passed him by in the blink of an eye. Young studs like Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos are going to be out ruling the world while Carwin is sitting on the side lines.
In sum, despite his public attacks on me and this site, I wish Shane Carwin the best and strongly urge him to get new management that has his best interests at heart.
UPDATE: Let me clarify, the decision to not fight is totally up to Shane and his doctors, family, coaches and management. I hope he made the decision that is best for his health. It's his dumbass decision to tweet that it was his OPTION to sit out the fight or not that I'm objecting to. If you have to drop out of a fight for health reasons, save the agonizing and second guessing for your private conversations with friends and family. Toe the company line on Twitter.