Shane Carwin, a one-time UFC Interim Heavyweight Champion and the man who challenged then UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar for the gold at UFC 116, will be returning to the fight game, but it will not be with the UFC.
Carwin addressed the situation himself in a post on The UG
As many of you know I recently decided to come out of retirement. I asked my management team at Ingrained Media to help chart a course. This lead to reviews of my contract and conversations with Joe Silva and UFC’s legal team. We decided mutually that my value and what I bring to the Heavyweight Division will be better utilized elsewhere. I am now a free agent. I look forward to freely speaking with the other MMA promotions. The Heavyweight division has a lot of great fights and not all of them are in the UFC.
I am excited about what the future holds. I want to prove to myself and my fans that I belong at the top of the division. Today that journey begins.
Feel free to ask me any questions.
Carwin also stated in the very same post that he and the UFC mutually agreed to part ways, so the 41 year old slugger could try his talents elsewhere. Carwin has not stated yet as to which promotions he has spoken to, but Scott Coker of Bellator has went on record saying that the company is interested in 'every free agent available.' Currently, Bellator has no heavyweight champion after stripping Vitaly Minakov of the title.
The former UFC interim Heavyweight champion mentioned he's interested in title bouts, as well as big fights, and that USADA was not a factor.
Carwin last competed at UFC 131 in June 2011 in a losing effort to former UFC Heavyweight Champion Junior Dos Santos, in an ironic twist of fate, Carwin was replacing an injured Brock Lesnar in that fight, Lesnar withdrew from the fight due to his second battle with diverticulitis. Carwin retired shortly after that loss to Dos Santos, citing a history of both back problems and back injuries, his return fight would come after the fighter has been away from the sport for well over five years.
Prior to the retirement announcement, Carwin was set to fight Roy Nelson at the UFC Ultimate Fighter 12 Finale, Nelson would go onto fight and knockout Matt Mitrione that night. Carwin also angled to fight Brock Lesnar for his 2016 return bout, something that didn't end up materializing.