Shane Carwin always seemed like one of those guys who would be done with MMA when he retired. He never came off as someone who would own a gym or do seminars.
As much as he loved the sport, Carwin never quit his full-time job as an engineer, even when he was preparing to fight Brock Lesnar for the UFC heavyweight title. So when he officially retired last year due to a back injury, he figured he was finished with MMA.
"I was that guy," Carwin told FOX Sports. "That was me. I was done. Time to move on. That’s the way I was thinking."
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For the most part, that has been the case. Carwin’s main roles now are as an engineer and a father. But MMA has stuck with him more than he thought it would. Recently, Carwin has become the part owner of an MMA promotion, Prize Fighting Championships, in his home state of Colorado.
PFC holds its seventh show on Nov. 21 at National Western Complex in Denver. Headlining the event will be Chris Camozzi, who was recently cut by the UFC, and former Bellator MMA fighter Jeremy Kimball for the middleweight title. Also on the docket that night is a concert by popular rock band P.O.D.
Carwin, 39, isn’t involved in the musical or promotional side of things and he wasn’t integral in signing Camozzi. He leaves that to lead promoter Seth Daniels. Carwin is in charge of making sure the fighters get everything they need. He doesn’t have an official title, but consider him a kind of talent relations guy.
I fought in small shows where I didn’t get paid. I’m around to make sure [fighters] get taken care of. The biggest thing I do for the promotion is to show the camps we’re for real.
"I fought in small shows where I didn’t get paid," Carwin said. "I’m around to make sure [fighters] get taken care of. The biggest thing I do for the promotion is to show the camps we’re for real. There are a lot of promotions out there that don’t meet a certain criteria."
PFC has no designs on challenging the UFC. Carwin said he would be pleased if it reached the level of what Triple-A is for Major League Baseball — a feeder system for the UFC with legitimate up-and-coming prospects.
As far as Carwin himself, a return to the cage is not imminent. His back is still not in the best shape, though he has looked into new techniques like platelet-rich plasma injections and stem-cell procedures to get it repaired. Currently, he is not training at all.
"If my back could come back and be strong and I could compete at the level I need to, I wouldn’t write anything off," Carwin said.
In 2010, Carwin was the hottest heavyweight fighter on the planet. He crushed former UFC champion Frank Mir in March of that year to win his fifth straight bout, all by first-round knockout. But Carwin ended up losing the title fight to Lesnar four months later and fell by unanimous decision to Junior dos Santos in 2011.
Those were his only two pro losses, but they were also the last two fights of his career.
"No regrets," Carwin said. "I feel blessed. I absolutely loved fighting."
And he’s still getting his fix with PFC, even if it’s in an administrative role.