Esther Lin / MMAFighting.com
Shane Carwin and Roy Nelson appeared on their way to VADA testing for their fight. But now, Carwin's manager is explaining that he doesn't see why VADA is good anyway and calls the agency "anti-Carwin."
We've known for a short while that the rumors putting the bout between current Ultimate Fighter coaches Shane Carwin and Roy Nelson will not be conducted with VADA drug testing. This is despite statements from sources like Victor Conte that VADA would be doing the testing as well as Nelson actively pursuing the more comprehensive testing.
Carwin's manager, Jason Genet, had contacted several media sources stating that they wouldn't participate in the VADA program because he sees the organization as "anti-Shane," seeming mostly to revolve around an article that was posted on the VADA site that took a shot at Carwin's position on The Ultimate Fighter as (paraphrasing) "teaching young fighters how to dope." This being a reference to Carwin's name being associated with a steroid pharmacy in his pre-UFC days.
Margaret Goodman of VADA said that the intern who posted the article was fired and it was pulled from the website. I will gladly admit that that is unacceptable, but, so long as the person responsible has been fired, I wouldn't say that it means that the entire organization has it in for Shane.
And I will say that I take a ton of exception to a line like this from Genet (via MMA Junkie):
"To me, it looks like VADA is another opportunistic [organization] that's come along within the sport of MMA to somehow make themselves relevant," he said. "I'm questioning where the relevancy coming from. As a manager, it's not that I wouldn't agree with outside testing. I want to know what's wrong with what's currently taking place."
First of all, "what's wrong with the testing" is that it's woefully bad. VADA tests for more substances and via more methods than anything the commissions are doing. Commissions aren't engaging in Carbon Isotope Ratio testing, VADA is. To act like there's the slightest debate over if VADA is better than the commission checking urine is absurd and nonsense of the highest degree.
Second, VADA isn't just targeting MMA to become relevant. They became pretty damn relevant when a big money boxing rematch between Andre Berto and Victor Ortiz, the first encounter was voted fight of the year many places, was cancelled when Berto failed a VADA test. Then they were there, at the cancellation of another major boxing event when Lamont Peterson failed a VADA conducted test prior to his rematch with Amir Khan.
Major boxing superstar Nonito Donaire has agreed to be a test case for VADA agreeing to be randomly tested at any time regardless of if he is currently training for a fight or not.
Berto vs. Ortiz, Peterson vs. Khan, anything involving Donaire...those are higher relevancy situations than Roy Nelson vs. Shane Carwin. Those are world title level situations and huge money fights.
The Wrestling Observer Newsletter (subscription required) also contained some details on the situation:
There was one hell of a grandstand play that took place over the past week and is still taking place. I know people won't believe this because so much of hype is make believe, but Roy Nelson and Shane Carwin, who coached on TUF, came out of the show not liking each other. In fact, Carwin, who is a mild mannered guy outside the cage, hates Nelson. Since nobody is watching the show, and the season isn't done airing, whatever the reason or reasons aren't clear yet. Then, Victor Conte put on twitter that Nelson and Carwin had agreed to VADA drug testing, which is far more comprehensive than commission testing. The problem is, Carwin had not agreed to it, but now he's in a bad position in the sense by not agreeing to it, he becomes the worker who holds a world title belt in the 1930s being called out by the rival world champion who is a shooter. By ignoring it, everyone starts asking questions regarding why you are ignoring it. Nelson, by having his camp approach VADA in the first place, knew exactly what he was doing and in a sense, broke protocol in the sport where it's pretty much accepted lots of guys are doing things. It's different from B.J. Penn and Rory MacDonald where MacDonald was aware ahead of time what would be happening. Still, I can see where clean fighters are coming from.
Mike Kogan, the manager of Nelson, e-mailed Genet and Carwin last week saying they had secured sponsorship to cover the cost of the testing for their 12/15 fight in Las Vegas. Genet also stated that on the VADA web site there was a story on the reality show which stated that Carwin's only potential contribution as coach was to teach athletes how to dope. Apparently that line was in an outside contributed story that was put on their site. Carwin also has gone after Conte himself, calling him a convicted criminal. Because Carwin didn't like Conte, Nelson attempted to bring Conte on as an assistant coach for his team on the show. He also wanted to bring in Kurt Angle as a wrestling coach. Dana White allegedly nixed those requests. Nelson said that he knows a bunch of guys that he fought were on something, and said eventually he'll do a tell-all book like Jose Canseco, except he's clean. "If I knew you were on the juice or doing something wrong, I just wanted to basically for my own morals, I just beat a guy who was sticking it in," he told Andy Samuelson of MMAfighting.com. "He wasn't the better fighter. He was the guy who cheated. I got off on that. But now that we're in the business aspect and we're in the fight business, it's a dog-eat-dog world and now that my wife is pregnant, now you're taking money from my kid. Now it's a business aspect and I just want everyone to be level. Either I can juice or you can make everybody not juice. It's either one or the other. I don't care really which it is. I just need to know what the rules are so I can play by the rules and make everybody level."
The issue with the whole situation is exactly what Meltzer covered early on there. Carwin and his management don't look good in this situation. One outside contributed article with an unfair shot at Carwin being posted on the VADA website is not enough to say "they're anti-Carwin" and then act as though there's no clear reason why this obviously better testing is better than the joke testing done by commissions.
Now, with Carwin's prior attachment to a steroid pharmacy and now looking like they're ducking VADA testing, the accepted best method for combat sports testing, is not going to make Shane look particularly good.
As for a Roy Nelson tell-all book? I don't know what all information he has for sure. But given how much "everyone knows about (insert any number of name fighters) using PEDs" there is that gets talked about off the record, I'd assume that book could make things pretty ugly.
...assuming it ever got written, that is.