by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
So few fighters in the sport of MMA ever get the chance to compete on the biggest stage, much less fight for the biggest title, but Shane Carwin had that opportunity. He came as close as anyone could come to victory before ultimately tasting defeat.
The massive Colorado heavyweight dropped UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar in the opening seconds of their bout on July 3, and followed up with a flurry of punches that looked to put the former WWE Superstar away early. Lesnar somehow weathered the storm and battled back to snatch a submission in the second round, handing Carwin his first defeat.
Over a week removed, Carwin has perspective on the fight, but admits he still hasn’t gone back to watch it again yet. The memories of the bout are still fresh though, as are the wounds of a fighter who was seconds away from glory.
Carwin documented the fight in an exclusive interview with MMAWeekly Radio on Monday, knowing there are things he will do differently if there is a second fight with Lesnar, but taking nothing away from the champion.
“I’m not making any excuses for that fight. Brock won that fight. He came out of a first round that I don’t think many people could, and if I want to blame anybody on that fight it’s me,” Carwin said.
Following the bout, many questioned whether or not referee Josh Rosenthal had made the right call in the first round to allow the action to continue, with Lesnar on his back absorbing a ton of punishment. Carwin says no one should blame Rosenthal for doing his job.
“Josh is a great ref. I don’t have any ill will towards any ref. They have the hardest job in there when you sit back and you try to think about putting yourself in their shoes and try to determine if a fighter can’t carry on, or is intelligently defending himself,” said Carwin. “Everyone is different in how they defend in those positions. It’s a very tough job, and I have a lot of respect for all the refs that are out there.”
Once again owning up for what he did in the cage that night, Carwin believes that there’s one guaranteed way to make sure no one ever said a word about Rosenthal’s judgment, and that’s back on him.
“One sure fire way to finish a fight is to knock him out, and Rosenthal wouldn’t have to make a decision,” Carwin stated.
In between the first and second rounds was when the fight turned for Carwin. After thoroughly dominating first round in which he battered Lesnar for the better part of five minutes, Carwin headed to his corner and made eye contact with his head coach Trevor Wittman. They knew something was wrong.
“When I was walking back to the corner and Coach Wittman came out, and I sat down on the stool and I looked over at him, I think he knew something was wrong. I told him I was like ‘my legs are seizing up coach’ and you can probably see I was shaking my head,” Carwin commented.
“I was kind of like a wounded pig out there with a pack of wolves on me.”
What happened to Carwin, as he found out after the fight, was a bout of lactic acidosis. That is when lactic acid builds up in the blood stream faster than it can be removed, and it’s produced when oxygen levels in the body are reduced. Knowing that something was wrong when the first round ended, Carwin says it was when he was leaving after the fight that things actually got scary.
“The hard part was actually walking back to the locker room,” he said. “I just felt like I was going to collapse. By the time I got back there they put me on my back, my blood pressure was out of control, my heart rate was extremely out of control, and it never came back down, and I basically started hyperventilating almost right there.”
Carwin made the trip to the local hospital, where he was checked out and released. Now that the fight is over and before he plans on stepping back in the Octagon again, Carwin says he will be tested thoroughly by his doctors to prevent this from happening again. Changes in diet and training should help fix the issue.
Once again though, like a warrior, Carwin doesn’t pass the buck on his performance on anything his body did, and only pays credit Lesnar.
“The whole lactic acidosis thing is not an excuse either, it’s what happened. It’s unfortunate, and Brock was able to come out in the second round and finish me,” Carwin said.
Now that he’s home again and spending time with family, he hasn’t lost sight on his goals, saying the loss only makes him hungrier to reach the top. He tasted gold once, and he wants another shot at that, and will do whatever is necessary to get there.
“I still believe 100 percent (that I can beat him),” said Carwin. “Would things be different? I don’t know. There’s some exciting fights, there’s some exciting heavyweight match-ups, and we’re only finally starting to get to them. Cain (Velasquez) and Brock is going to be a hell of a fight. Cain’s a tough dude, and I look forward to hopefully fighting him some day, and you know Brock again. Then you’ve got some up and comers like (Junior) Dos Santos and (Roy) Nelson going at it.
“I think right now that the heavyweight division is the most exciting division in the UFC, with all the guys, and all the potential match-ups.”
There’s been no timetable for when Carwin will return, but it’s guaranteed that he will come back with a whole new fire and dedication for winning. That’s a dangerous combination for any heavyweight that stands across the Octagon from him.