Shane Carwin (12-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC) and Roy Nelson (17-7 MMA, 4-3 UFC) don't like each other – that much is clear.
The two went at it Thursday via Twitter, with Nelson inviting Carwin to set up a pay-per-view sparring session and Carwin bashing Nelson's possible coaches on "The Ultimate Fighter 16."
Then, almost as soon as it began, both fighters deleted from their accounts almost any trace of the skirmish.
From the announcement that the two would serve as coaches on "The Ultimate Fighter 16," which begins filming next month and debuts in September on FX, Carwin and Nelson took shots at each other. Carwin called Nelson a "keyboard warrior" who cowardly talked trash to him, and Nelson said Carwin made him feel "icky."
The comments were good copy, as were those on Twitter, and neither fighter could be blamed for trying to hype a reality show that saw sagging ratings in its previous season.
Carwin, though, said he's serious about his dislike for Nelson.
"It's a guy that I look forward to fighting," he told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com
) shortly before he and Nelson engaged online. "I don't like him, and I know he doesn't care for me, so it makes for an easy fight and some motivation."
Nelson was unavailable for comment. On Twitter, he ratcheted things up a notch by implying Carwin was using steroids.
"Why wait [until] December we can see if we can get on @ufc 151," Nelson wrote. "Is this enough time to cycle off?"
In 2010, Carwin was implicated in a federal investigation into steroid distribution, but never was charged with a crime.
Carwin, in turn, attacked names Nelson mentioned as potential for his coaching staff on "TUF 16," which included former steroid dealer turned anti-doping advocate Victor Conte and former Olympian and WWE wrestler Kurt Angle, calling them "convicted criminals."
Conte went to jail for money laundering and conspiracy to distribute steroids in connection with the BALCO scandal that rocked professional baseball. Angle was arrested four times for driving while intoxicated and twice convicted.
The finale for "The Ultimate Fighter 16" is set for December, though Carwin, who will return to action after more a year and a half on the sidelines due to injury, said a date has not been set for his fight with Nelson.
Nevertheless, more fuel has been added to fire between them. If Twitter is any indication, they are likely to clash when the cameras roll.