Shane Carwin’s journey back to mixed martial arts is officially underway. The former interim UFC heavyweight champion will compete under the Rizin Fighting Federation banner this winter as part of an openweight grand prix.
Carwin admits he left better offers on the table to fight for the Japanese MMA organization, turning down financially lucrative deals from other top organizations like Bellator.
“I signed on the line which was dotted,” Carwin wrote on Reddit MMA. “I have been a long time friend of Pride. I used to watch late night Pride Fights with the U.S. 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 was not entirely [sic] 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.
I told Rizin no few times and they stayed with me. Came to visit. Understood my values and what is important to me. Seemed to share the same values. I left the meeting wanting to be a part of Rizin. Feeling as if they wanted me.
So on December 29th it begins.”
The 41-year-old heavyweight has not competed since June 2011. There is no word on who Carwin will face first.