For several years, Shane Carwin was one of the hardest-hitting heavyweights in the UFC. It looked like he was set to be a regular fixture in the league’s upper echelons, but back and neck problems kept forcing him to pull out of fights and he ended up retiring in 2011. But when Brock Lesnar’s return to fighting at UFC 200 was announced, Carwin popped back up and said he was feeling healthy enough to compete. And now he’s gone ahead and signed with Japanese promotion RIZIN and will fight in their heavyweight grand prix on December 29th.
Here’s Shane’s post on Reddit’s MMA sub explaining why he decided to pick RIZIN, which is run by the same guy who used to run PRIDE over the UFC or Bellator:
I signed on the line which was dotted. I have been a long time friend of Pride. I used to watch late night Pride Fights with the US commentators like Bas and wish I was part of it. The only thing making me happy was the plate of Totinos next to me.
I had better offers from a money stand point. Bellator made the best offer. It just wasn’t entirely clear that they wanted me as much as I wanted them to want me.
I made an agreement to fight Fedor but he did not agree. I have been told by several matchmakers that that fight is a unicorn and they do not see Fedor taking it. Maybe I can just go help him train for the next one. Still a fan! He is still GOAT HWT to me.
It’s still unclear who Carwin will fight in December. According to him, “They gave me a list asked me to pick one. I have no clue who they are so I handed it back and said you choose what the fans want to see.” The RIZIN staff seemed to take that seriously, putting this out on Twitter:
Other men in the tournament include Valentin Moldavsky, Amir Aliakbari, Jiri Prochazka, Szymon Bajor, and former sumo wrestler Baruto. Mirko Crocop and Wanderlei Silva are also slated to fight each other in this round, which means Carwin could eventually fight one of them in the future.
Whatever happens, it’s great to see Carwin back and healthy. His first twelve fights all ended in first round knockouts, often in under a minute. It will be exciting to see if he still has that knack for separating people from their consciousness.