It's not that Nelson and Carwin are terrible choices as coaches, because they aren't. Carwin isn't the most bombastic personality on the UFC roster, choosing instead to allow his sledgehammer-like fists to do his talking for him. But Nelson makes up for whatever Carwin lacks in oratorial entertainment value.
The surprise, at least from my perspective, was due to Nelson's not-so-great relationship with Dana White. Those of you who have followed Nelson's career since he came to the UFC know that White isn't "Big Country's" biggest fan, and that's putting it mildly. The UFC president doesn't like the way Nelson looks, and he's not too keen on Nelson's joking nature, either.
Carwin seems to fall into the same boat as White. The former UFC interim heavyweight champion took to his personal website to issue a shot at Nelson's clowning ways:
I am going to be representing for the REAL Country folk. The people that know life is about providing for your family through hard work... I know Roy likes to be the UFC’s Jester but he better know this is not a joke for me.
He can keep striving for being average, I am pushing myself and those around me to find the American Dream. The dream that comes from lots of hard work and sacrifice, no gimmicks necessary.
Carwin's comments should come as no surprise, at least to those of you who follow the plus-sized men on Twitter. The pair have engaged in a war of words—or tweets, to be more accurate—for quite some time now.
It's clear that Carwin has little regard for Nelson's proclivity for being the UFC's "court jester," as Carwin so accurately termed it.
But here's the million-dollar question: Will the personal rivalry between the two make for entertaining television? In seasons past, there have been plenty of ready-made personality conflicts between coaches that just didn't create intriguing, must-watch TV.
Brock Lesnar and Junior dos Santos were a perfect example. Lesnar, likely due to all of the horrific medical issues he'd just gone through, left the WWE-style Lesnar at home. He and Dos Santos were friendly for the most part, and it led to a disappointing season of the show.
On the flip side, we saw the same type of personality traits in Rampage Jackson and Rashad Evans, with Jackson constantly cracking jokes and Evans taking his coaching job as seriously as anyone who has ever done it. That pairing led to the biggest non-title fight PPV in UFC history, so clearly there is something to it.
Will the ultra-serious Carwin and the joking, fun-loving Nelson create an interesting personality conflict? It remains to be seen. But given the brief preview of their rivalry we've been given via Twitter, I believe things will work out nicely in the end.