For the first time since 2008, two UFC heavyweights, Roy Nelson and Shane Carwin, will undertake the challenge of coaching on the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter reality show, with episode one set to air this Friday night on FX.

There are many pros and cons of having Nelson and Carwin coach against each other, and not all fans will agree on the selection of the big men as coaches. The MMA Corner will breakdown what’s in store for this year’s coaching duties, and answer the simple question: Did the UFC production crew choose wisely by going with the two heavyweight sluggers?

It’s very difficult to come up with a straightforward answer, so a good bit of critiquing is required to determine if this was a good move on the part of UFC President Dana White.

On the positive side, heavyweights draw a lot of attention in general. The cast may not be filled with heavyweights such as the tenth season that featured Nelson and Kimbo Slice, but having two 265+ pound coaches will make things interesting.

Nelson and Carwin are two smart guys that have been around the block when it comes to MMA. Before coming into the tenth season as a TUF hopeful, Nelson had competed in many different organizations, including the IFL and EliteXC. His counterpart, Carwin, may have only 14 bouts under his belt, but he has a lot of coaching experience at 37 years old. So, when it comes to coaching skills, these two are great names to step in and instruct younger fighters.

One intriguing thing about this coaching match-up is the mix of personalities. Carwin is relatively quiet and reserved, while Nelson isn’t even a bit shy. Nelson will be the outspoken one, a guy who clowns around in front of the cameras. Carwin will choose his words more carefully, but he won’t be afraid to speak up when Nelson gets on his bad side. It’s always nice to have a mix of characters, and Nelson and Carwin should provide an entertaining contrast in personalities for fans to watch.

It will also help to put Carwin’s name back into the collective consciousness of MMA fans prior to his return to action versus Nelson at season’s end. Neck and back surgery have limited Carwin to just one fight, a decision loss to current UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos, over the course of the last two-plus years. Carwin, a former contender, has been absent for the extent of UFC’s Fox era, yet he almost destroyed Brock Lesnar and captured UFC gold just two fights ago. The reality show will serve as a vehicle to drive Carwin back to prominence, and assuming he isn’t once again sidelined by injury, a fight against Nelson could be his opportunity to climb back into the title picture and pick up fans along the way.

But just like everything, there are negatives to this decision.

It’s fairly unlikely that we’ll see the level of heat between the two heavyweights that has come to be expected in past editions of the reality show. Carwin is very polite outside of knocking guys out with his right hand. The UFC will try to cause some chaos between the two coaches, but we’re not going to see an escalation of tempers that produces a repeat of Quinton “Rampage” Jackson busting through doors. Fans want to see entertainment, but unless Carwin finds some real anger in him, the most we can likely expect is a few exchanges of heated words.

There’s also the question of whether two heavyweights that tip the scales at the upper limits of the division’s weight allowance are the right choice for a season that features welterweights, some of whom have competed at middleweight for the majority of their careers. When the show’s hopefuls struggle to make weight, will they really want to turn to someone that takes pride in his round belly?

However, overall, the UFC did a solid job picking these two coaches. They are two very likable guys, and will draw fans to the show. But when it all comes down to it, the show is really about the fighting. And that’s what will keep fans tuned in.

Photo: Shane Carwin (Rob Tatum/The MMA Corner)

About The Author

Corey Adams
Staff Writer

Corey Adams didn't grow up watching mixed martial arts, considering the UFC was just getting started the year he was born, but in his teenage years, witnessed the action and has fallen in love with the sport. Corey was the first to join The MMA Corner staff -- other than founder Josh Davis -- and has been writing for the site ever since. Corey attends Austin Peay State University, where he majors in Communications with a focus on journalism. When he's not covering MMA, Corey is still writing on many sports with both local and campus newspapers. His favorite sports teams are the Atlanta Braves and Denver Broncos. Follow him on Twitter at the link below.