Shane Carwin, a former UFC interim heavyweight champion best known for his fight with Brock Lesnar, announced his retirement on 5/7 due to an assortment of knee, neck and back injuries.
Carwin, 38, hadn’t fought for nearly two years, since losing a brutal one-sided decision to Junior Dos Santos on June 11, 2011, in Vancouver. Carwin took the fight on late notice when Lesnar pulled out of the match due to a second bout with diverticulitis.
Carwin was a two-time NCAA Division II All-American linebacker in football, who was chosen to play in the Senior Bowl and had an NFL tryout that ended with a serious back injury. When he was younger, he was coached in wrestling by Ron Waterman, who went on to become an early UFC fighter, and had a brief run in WWE, doing developmental and house shows but never making television, and then New Japan Pro Wrestling.
At Western State University in Colorado, Carwin was also a star heavyweight wrestler, placing second in the Division II nationals in 1996 and 1997, and winning in 1999.
He had a regular job as an engineer when Waterman brought him to camp as a training partner. Carwin, who was actually a little more than 6-foot-1, started in MMA billed as a 6-foot-4 and 300 pound monster. The original MMA version of Carwin, whose name was mentioned years later in a steroid test, was 289 pounds and ripped to shreds in his early fights. Carwin had the largest hands in UFC history, needing a 5XL glove, and had scary knockout power and strength, which made up for a lack of any real technique in his early days.
From his 2005 debut until signing with UFC less than three years later, Carwin went 8-0, with the longest lasting fight being his debut, which went 2:11, and five of the wins coming in less than one minute.
Carwin and Cain Velasquez were both signed by UFC in 2008, and brought in to be the two major new stars in a division shortly after Lesnar was signed. Carwin, who surprisingly looked like a different person, weighing 254 pounds for his UFC debut, won his first two UFC fights in less than 2:00, and was expected to face Lesnar for the title when Lesnar went down with his first attack of diverticulitis in late 2009.
Carwin then knocked out Frank Mir in 3:48 to win the interim heavyweight title on March 27, 2010, in Newark, NJ.
When Lesnar returned, the Lesnar vs. Carwin battle of the giant heavyweights champions in a unification match on July 3, 2010, was one of the biggest fights in U.S. MMA history. The fight drew 1.1 million buys on PPV, still UFC’s second largest total in history.
The fight was memorable, as Carwin, now back to having to cut to make the 265 pound weight limit, stopped Lesnar’s takedown attempt and blasted him with punches. The fight was on the verge of being stopped by referee Josh Rosenthal, who let it go longer than most. Carwin’s blows started getting weaker and Lesnar survived the onslaught and got out of trouble. By the end of the first round, Carwin, who had never gone into the second round, was spent. His body shut down from lactic acid and exhaustion, and Lesnar handed him his first loss via arm triangle submission at 2:19 of the second round.
He only fought once more after that, the loss to Dos Santos.
Carwin had been plagued by injuries ever since. He had back problems dating back to his football days. He underwent neck surgery on November 2, 2010, putting him out of a scheduled fight with Roy Nelson. Carwin’s fight with Dos Santos was as a replacement for Lesnar, who had his second bout with diverticulitis.
He underwent back surgery on October 16, 2011. His recovery was slow, and he was made a coach of season 16 of The Ultimate Fighter opposite Nelson. The second Carwin vs. Nelson fight was set for December 15, 2012, but Carwin suffered a knee injury in training.
His retirement came from all of the aforementioned injuries, making it impossible for him to train the way he liked, plus his age was becoming a factor.
Topics without replies are pruned every 365 days. Not moderated.
- Sergeant Commanding
- Posts: 5434
- Joined: Mon Sep 15, 2008 1:38 am
- Location: House of Fire