Opinion: Can Frank Mir Come Back Yet Again?
By Jesse Heitz
The MMA world learned this week that yet another Zuffa card has been bitten by the injury bug. This time it’s the Strikeforce: Cormier vs. Mir event, which has subsequently been thrown into limbo. While the shakeup of yet another highly promoted MMA card is discouraging, the injury to Frank Mir is perhaps even more disheartening.
Mir has long been a fan favorite. His personable attitude, ability to sell a fight, tremendous insight into the inner-workings of the sport itself, and his highly entertaining performances, have made him a mainstay in the business. Yet after this most recent knee injury—granted we don’t know the severity of the injury at this moment, one has to wonder how many more comebacks Mir has left in him.
Mir was once the rising star in the UFC’s Heavyweight Division, dropping even the mighty “Tank” Abbott with a toe hold at UFC 41 at the young age of 24. Following that performance he rattled off three consecutive victories, two against arch-nemesis Wes Sims, and famously one against Tim Sylvia in which Mir not only broke Sylvia’s arm, but also took away his heavyweight title.
In September of 2004, disaster struck when Mir was struck by a car while riding his motorcycle. With the soft tissue of his knee destroyed and his femur broken, Mir’s in-cage career seemed to be over. In 2006, Mir made his return to the Octagon in an attempt to recapture the Heavyweight Championship that he had been stripped of. His losing effort in his UFC 57 return against Maricio Cruz was embarrassing, as was his TKO loss to newcomer Brandon “The Truth” Vera at UFC 65.
Out of the blue, ostensibly having fully recovered from his motorcycle accident, Mir rebounded, defeating Antoni Hardonk, Brock Lesnar, and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. His improbable and lopsided TKO victory over “Big Nog” at UFC 92 earned him the UFC Interim Heavyweight Championship.
After an incredible buildup to the Lesnar vs. Mir rematch at UFC 100, the fight itself didn’t hold up, with Mir being bludgeoned by Lesnar into unconsciousness. Mir came back with a win against Cheick Kongo in his following fight, but was then brutally dropped by Shane Carwin under the always watchful eye of referee Dan Miragliotta.
Again Mir rose from the ashes, stringing out three consecutive wins against Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic, Roy Nelson, and “Big Nog” again—this time doing the unthinkable and breaking the legend’s arm with a Kimura. Mir then took his third shot at UFC heavyweight gold, ultimately falling to the strikes of Junior Dos Santos at UFC 146.Following the loss to Dos Santos, Mir seemed to give the impression that his fighting days were limited. Then he resurfaced as the opponent of the undefeated Daniel Cormier, only to be forced to withdraw from the bout due to injury.
We’ve seen this man overcome setback after setback, from devastating losses to accidents that would have forced other men into retirement, and each time he has come back. At 33 years of age, Mir has been competing professionally for a decade and has been stopped in three out of his last seven fights. One has to wonder how much he has left. Being a fan of a good comeback story, I for one hope that he’s got one more campaign left in him.