There hasn’t been a great deal of editorial commentary since the news came out that Shane Carwin was named by a U.S. prosecutor as one of 22 athletes receiving steroids from a criminal drug ring in Alabama. But a few brave souls have ventured to opine.
Here’s Jamie Penick of MMA Torch:
This is unfortunately the unseen underbelly of many sports, and despite the fact that Carwin will deny tooth and nail that any of this is true and point to the fact that he hasn’t failed any tests, he’s named as receiving steroid shipments from this pharmacy and isn’t going to help his case. This seems to be a continued cycle in every sport, where it’s being done, people know it’s being done, but these athletes will continue to deny, deny, deny. But we’re to the point now where the continued denials have lost all credence. Of course, Carwin shouldn’t be totally crucified in the public light, because he’s simply named here, hasn’t been caught with anything technically and hasn’t failed a test, but this certainly isn’t good for him. People will look at him differently from here on out, however.
Oliver Saenz of Fighters.com:
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.
More in the full entry including Jake Rossen, Subo and the New England Sports Network:
Nick Coman of the New England Sports Network:
The UFC competitors are tested for steroid use, but it is hard to believe that the practice still isn’t wide spread or that the testing is remotely stringent.
The organization has made a concerted — and successful — effort to differentiate itself from the WWE and become a real sport. President Dana White even wants to see it become a college sport, and that seems less and less out of the question as it catches on.
Still, in order for it to truly establish legitimacy, it needs to take juicing out of the game entirely.
It’s just too hard to not lump the UFC in with the WWE when Carwin and (Kurt) Angle are listed in the same police report.
And Jake Rossen of ESPN/Sherdog really turns up the heat:
The charges also put a new spin on Carwin’s fight with Brock Lesnar in July. Had Carwin managed — as he seemed to be within seconds of doing — to stop Lesnar, the UFC would now be attempting to shovel over the past indiscretions of their heavyweight champion. Carwin would have become the first current champion to have a U.S. attorney labeling him a cheat. Bullet dodged.
Does this really mean anything? Is anyone surprised by the news that a man who has to cut weight to make the 265-pound heavyweight ceiling might have ballooned with the help of lab science? I doubt it; audiences are too jaded at this point. While it may have been a shock to hear about the heroes of baseball — essentially competing in one giant Norman Rockwell painting — with needles sticking out of their rears, it’s far easier to imagine licensed fighters doing anything to produce a more effective beating.
Combat sports have special problems because the risk of steroid use isn’t limited to the fighters’ organs or endocrine systems — it also includes the potential to injure an opponent who may be choosing not to take the same path. Carwin is a wrecking ball of a fighter who barely needs to touch chins before they crack. Is it because he’s gifted, or because he married already-promising genetics with the latest in test-tube athletics? And if it’s the latter, it is that much better than showing up with a loaded glove?
And Subo at Fightlinker pulls no punches:
I hate steroids, I hate the idea that they don’t matter/should be legal, and I hate them more in MMA than any other sport. You can make the argument in baseball that it’s more individual, but not in mixed martial arts – when you take steroids, you’re not just endangering yourself, you’re jeopardizing the heath of your opponent, whom agreed to let him hit you contingent upon the fact that neither of you used banned supplements. If there is ever a death in the Octagon, and the winner (survivor) of the fight tests positive for steroids, you could have a potentially horrific situation.
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