The reports have slowly leaked, as the show comes closer to its debut date on Sept. 14, that tensions ran high between coaches Shane Carwin and Roy Nelson, as well as between Roy Nelson and Dana White himself.
There's definitely no love lost between Carwin and Nelson, who have quietly jabbed at each other in the past through the press and through social networking sites like Twitter.
Now as they head into the show, Carwin admits there's always been an uneasy tension between he and Nelson, and he's sure it's going to come into play.
“I think we hold ourselves as two different people,” Carwin told MMAWeekly Radio. “Roy's a great fighter, don't get me wrong, very talented; could he be more talented? I think so. If he took things more serious.”
Carwin's view on Nelson is apparently shared by White, who has spoken out on numerous occasions about Nelson's weight and appearance as he heads into fights.
“Listen, he’s a tough guy with a ton of heart. He goes in there and he gives it his everything. My thing is, I’ve always said to him, I’d love to see you take this thing seriously and rip off some weight,” said White in March of this year. “When you’ve got a chin like that and a heart like that, you can’t deny the guy’s got a great chin, a ton of heart and he can knock people out. If he really could get to 205, he’d be a force at 205. He’d be a scary dude. He’s got great wrestling, awesome submissions, great chin, a ton of heart, and has knockout power.
“Who knows what Roy Nelson could really achieve if he applied himself.”
Carwin also believes that Nelson's approach of being the “every man” in terms of not walking around with six-pack abs and ripped muscles is essentially not telling the whole story in terms of how he relates to who is actually the “average man” in America.
“I think the other tension is that I am this average guy and I've worked my ass off to get to where I'm at. I started working when I was 15. My mom raised three boys on her own and we were very poor. I grew up working construction and concrete work and threw boxes at the beef plant. I did everything just to try to survive,” Carwin stated.
“He plays this like he's this average guy and, honestly, I don't think the guy's ever had a normal job.”
While Carwin's forte has never been to trash talk or verbally go after an opponent before a fight, spending six weeks with Roy Nelson might change his approach a bit. Carwin readily admits he's as fierce as any fighter in the world when it comes to competition, and he might just end up showing a new level of fire when facing off with Nelson on The Ultimate Fighter.
“When it comes to competing, I'm overly competitive and that's my goal,” said Carwin.
“The whole point of the show for me is these fighters. The guys that end up on my team, I'm going to try to show them a professional route, becoming the best that they can be, not only in fighting but in life. That's my goal to show these guys.”
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- Roy Nelson