It appears that Shane Carwin’s days of woe will continue for the foreseeable future. After coming razor-close to stopping Brock Lesnar at UFC 116 and becoming the Undisputed UFC Heavyweight Champion, Carwin was subjected to one of the more dramatic comebacks of recent history: Brock Lesnar submitting him via Arm Triangle Choke. The fight itself pitted two of the largest athletes ever to step foot in the UFC against one another, as both men weighed in for their fight at 265 pounds, the maximum weight you can have as a Heavyweight. But now it appears that Carwin’s impressive size may be due to steroids, not hard work and dedication.
The entire scandal revolves around a nationwide conspiracy to sell illegal anabolic steroids made in Mobile, Alabama. The news came following the sentencing of J. Michael Bennett, a supervising pharmacist at Applied Pharmacy Services. Bennett had been convicted in 2008 on steroid charges, along with several others, and was recently sentenced to four years in prison. At Bennett’s sentencing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Donna Dobbins revealed a list of names of athletes that had obtained drugs via the conspiracy. The conspiracy itself resulted in 762,388 dosages of steroids being shipped to 17 doctors and clinics in a two-year period, according to reports. Names on the list included pro wrestlers like Kurt Angle, professional bodybuilders like Toney Freeman and Quincy Taylor, and of course, UFC star Shane “The Engineer” Carwin. So far, Carwin has not commented on this scandal, although his manager recently revealed that a statement was in the works.
If it proves true, I think this could be damning for both Shane Carwin and the sport of Mixed Martial Arts as a whole. This would prove that one of the UFC’s biggest potential stars is chemically enhanced. It sends a message to the public that the UFC may not be as squeaky-clean as it touts itself to be, and it sends a message to prospective fighters that one of the quickest ways to the top is through the juice, considering how quickly Carwin skyrocketed to the top of the pecking order and found himself challenging for a championship. It casts a black mark on Carwin’s entire career, which up until now has had near-unstoppable potential even with his recent loss to Brock Lesnar. Carwin was destined for great things, but now that his name may forever be tied to this conspiracy, he may be branded with a Scarlet Letter and even released from the UFC.
Some may balk at that, saying that the UFC has given second chances to fighters who have tested positive for steroids. But that’s the thing- Carwin never tested positive and was still on the roids. This is the type of story that the media can really stick their teeth in to: not only is a huge UFC star right in the middle of a big nationwide conspiracy, he never once got caught. It says more about the state of popular media than it does the state of steroid testing in MMA, but I think there’s a very real possibility that the media will take this, spin it, blow it out of proportion, and get so many people riled up that the UFC has no choice but to give Carwin the axe. In the realm of exploitative journalism, Shane Carwin may end up being someone’s wet dream come true.
There’s always a chance that Carwin didn’t take steroids, but we’ll never know for sure, will we? And it’s always easier to point the finger of blame than it is to give the benefit of the doubt. So many other professional athletes have gone on the war-wagon about never being on the juice, only for undeniable evidence to the contrary to be revealed. We’ve even had a few personal confessions. If Shane Carwin comes out and adamantly refuses ever taking steroids, it’s honestly going to be tough to believe him.
So what do you think fans and friends? Is Shane Carwin “guilty until proven innocent”, or do you think that he’s a victim of a frame-job?