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Shane Carwin (sort of) can't lose

7/28/2010

 Shane Carwin and Joe Rogan Sherdog.com

Joe Rogan knows: Fighters such as Shane Carwin never want to admit defeat -- even after a loss.

Nobody ever really loses in MMA. There are weird anomalies when the referee raises someone else's hand and when misguided record-keepers apply an "L" to a fighter's résumé, but it's not really a defeat, exactly. It's just the absence of a win.

Following his loss to Brock Lesnar at UFC 116 in early July, Shane Carwin -- who appeared to have the constitution of a man who had just completed the New York City Marathon by the second round -- insisted in interviews that his cardio was not a problem. He then proceeded to make a subtle request for information on "lactic acidosis" in a fight forum. This is akin to someone vomiting, insisting they're not really sick, and then asking for information on E. coli.

Aaron Simpson, a promising middleweight who suffered his first career loss against Chris Leben a few weeks prior, told MMAWeekly that he had "low thyroid, low iron, low vitamin D and other things." Both men follow a long line of fighters who lost not because the other man was better but because of conditions including (but not limited to): a dead family pet, a fractured skull, allergies, whooping cough, black plague, bed bugs, an enlarged prostate and, possibly, carpal tunnel from looking up symptoms on MedHelp.com.

I'm not harassing Simpson or Carwin. What athletes do to minimize a defeat is a necessary bit of self-served reinforcement. To climb into a cage and risk your brain health requires some psychological tricks that most of us don't need to concern ourselves with. But it might be best to limit their rationalizations to private conversations. Flicking sour grapes at fans doesn't help anyone.