Shane Carwin took a brutal, sustained three round beating from Junior dos Santos at UFC 131. He was beaten to the punch, couldn't get a take down, and other than landing a hard left hand in the second round, had literally nothing for dos Santos. But that didn't stop Carwin from continuing to come forward in a staggering display of heart and will.
MMA Mania spoke to Carwin's head trainer Trevor Wittman about the experience of cornering that fight and seeing Carwin's ordeal up close:
Trevor Wittman: One thing I can say about last night, I've been in this business a long time and I've worked many corners in boxing and many corners in MMA. You win some and you lose some. Last night, he inspired me so much as a trainer. To be involved in the first round war where I thought the fight was almost gonna be stopped and could have been stopped because of the punishment he was taking on the ground and then he comes into the corner and he looked like a beat fighter. He looked mentally beat. He looked physically beat. He had already started getting cuts. I didn't tell him any instruction on how to beat dos Santos at that point. All I did was psychologically try to get him back into the fight. Nothing was working until I mentioned his family and when I told him to put his family in his mind and go out there and do this for your family, the whole energy in his body changed, his posture changed, the look in his eye changed and to see him go out there and overcome that, go forward and start landing kicks; he's not much of a kicker. He even tried a switch kick. He just got turned on.
To me, that was like watching a Rocky Balboa movie. Movies are made about stuff like that. As a trainer, I felt we won. We didn't win the fight but we won as a person and as a team. He did not get beat mentally. He went out there like a warrior. it's hard to explain but it's very inspiring as a trainer and I'm still in awe and still amazed at the way he looked in the hospital afterwards. The way he went out there and said "screw it" and put on a fight for the fans and there was no quit in him at all. Even when he had that nasty cut in the third round, I thought the fight should have been stopped at that point. That was a very bad cut and he still asked to go on longer. The crowd really got into that. It was probably the most exciting corner I've ever been in and it was an experience I've never experienced before and I'm still feeling it.