Frank Mir

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Frank Mir
Frank Mir.jpg
Born Francisco Santos Mir, III
(1979-05-24) May 24, 1979 (age 35)
Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Nationality American
Height 6 ft 3 in (191 cm)[1]
Weight 261 lb (118 kg; 18 st 9 lb)
Division Heavyweight
Reach 79.0 in (201 cm)
Fighting out of Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States
Team Jackson's MMA
Trainer Ricky Lundell[2]
Angelo Reyes[2]
Greg Jackson
Rank Black belt in Kenpo Karate[3]
Black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Ricardo Pires[3]
Years active 2001 –present
Mixed martial arts record
Total 26
Wins 17
By knockout 4
By submission 9
By decision 3
By disqualification 1
Losses 9
By knockout 7
By decision 2
Spouse Jennifer (2004 – present)
Children 3
Notable school(s) Bonanza High School
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog
last updated on: October 11, 2011

Francisco Santos Mir, III[4][5] (born May 24, 1979), better known as Frank Mir, is an American mixed martial artist. Mir is a former two-time UFC Heavyweight Champion. He currently holds the record for most victories and submission wins in the history of the UFC Heavyweight division and is also the only man in UFC history to win a bout by a toe hold submission.[6] Mir has the record for most UFC fights in the Heavyweight division. He is the first man to knock out and submit Brazilian jiu-jitsu legend Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira via submission (kimura). As of February 2015, Mir is #11 in UFC's official Heavyweight rankings. [7]


Born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada, Mir began training and competing in Kenpo Karate from a young age at a school that his parents, who were also both practitioners of the martial art, owned. Mir later earned his black belt as a teenager.[8][9] Mir's father convinced him to begin wrestling, on the basis that it could help him avoid submissions. Mir began wrestling at Bonanza High School during his junior year and lost his first nine matches.[10] During his senior year (1998) he went 44–1 and won the state championship.[10] Mir was also on the school's football team that reached the Southern Zone semifinals in 1997 and where he played as fullback and defensive end. Mir also took up track and field in 1998 where his discus throw of 177 feet, 10 inches is still a Sunset Regional record.[10]

Mixed martial arts career[edit]

Mir met UFC matchmaker Joe Silva at a school Silva was visiting. Silva saw potential in Mir as a future UFC fighter and suggested that he first prove himself against some fighters in the mixed martial arts world. Mir would make his professional MMA debut against Jerome Smith at HOOKnSHOOT: Showdown on July 14, 2001. Mir won the bout by judges' decision after two rounds. He won another match by submission against Dan Quinn at IFC Warriors Challenge 15.

After these events, Mir made his UFC debut against Roberto Traven. Traven had fought once in the UFC before (at UFC 11), and was the 1999 ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship open class champion and 6th degree black belt in BJJ.[citation needed] Mir defeated Roberto Traven by armbar at 1:05 of round one at UFC 34: High Voltage on November 2, 2001. The submission earned Mir the "Tapout of the Night" award.

Mir's next match in the UFC was against Lion's Den fighter Pete Williams and took place at UFC 36: Worlds Collide on March 22, 2002. Mir submitted the veteran Williams, the only submission loss of Williams' career,[11] at only 46 seconds into the first round with a shoulder lock that has since been named after Mir.[12]

He faced Ian Freeman, at UFC 38: Brawl at the Hall, held in London, England on July 13, 2002. Despite several leglock attempts by Mir, Freeman achieved side control at around four minutes into the first round, landing numerous elbows and punches on Mir's head. After Freeman separated, the referee signaled Mir to stand back up. A time out was called due to an apparent cut on Mir's face, and the referee stopped the fight when Mir had difficulty standing up. The call is considered controversial by some fans (including Mir himself) because of the fact that he was never officially finished by Freeman and the fight only stopped due to difficulty standing up, which has been suggested was a smart, but bad call by the referee since that loss.

Mir then faced Tank Abbott at UFC 41 on February 28, 2003. Mir[13] defeated Abbott in only 46 seconds into the first round by submission (toe hold).

On June 26, 2003 Mir fought Wes Sims at UFC 43: Meltdown. Mir won by disqualification at 2:55 of the first round after Sims stomped down on Mir's face after slamming his way out of Mir's armbar attempt. They would rematch at UFC 46: Supernatural on January 31, 2004. Frank Mir won by knockout at 4:21 of the second round.

Heavyweight championship[edit]

On June 19, 2004, Mir faced Tim Sylvia for the vacant UFC Heavyweight Championship at UFC 48: Payback.[14] Referee Herb Dean stopped the fight at 50 seconds into the first round when Mir's armbar visibly broke Sylvia's right forearm. Mir trapped Sylvia's right arm in an armbar attempt. When Sylvia tried to pull out of the hold, Mir jerked back harder and Sylvia's radius bone snapped about 3 inches below his elbow. Sylvia repeatedly claimed his arm was not broken, even touching it and moving it around to show he was O.K.[15] Sylvia was taken to the nearby hospital where an x-ray showed that his arm was in fact broken in four different places, two in both the radial and ulna bones in his right forearm. Sylvia underwent surgery later in the week.[15]

With this technical submission win Mir became the new UFC Heavyweight Champion and later received his Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt from Ricardo Pires for his performance in the fight.[16]

Motorcycle injury[edit]

On September 17, 2004, Mir was knocked off his motorcycle by a car. The accident caused a break in Mir's femur and tore all the ligaments in his knee.[17] The bone had broken in two places but the injury did not end Mir's career as a fighter. Major surgery was needed to repair the bone in his leg. An Interim Heavyweight Championship was created while Mir was recovering from the injury, which Andrei Arlovski won by defeating Tim Sylvia via first-round submission.[18] On August 12, 2005, the UFC learned that Mir was not able to fight Andrei Arlovski in October as scheduled, thus Mir was stripped of the title after 14 months, and Arlovski was promoted to be the undisputed UFC Heavyweight Champion.[19] In 2010, Mir told FIGHT! Magazine that he was grateful for the motorcycle accident.[20]

Return to the UFC[edit]

Mir recovered from his motorcycle accident and fought Brazilian Márcio Cruz at UFC 57: Liddell vs. Couture 3 on February 4, 2006.[21] In a shocking upset, Mir was defeated by the relative newcomer in the first round by TKO due to strikes. Initially, referee Herb Dean called for a break to check a large cut on Mir's face. Mir was given the opportunity to continue, and did so.[22]

Mir returned to the Octagon on July 8, 2006 at UFC 61: Bitter Rivals and faced Dan Christison.[23] Mir had gained a considerable amount of weight and quickly became exhausted. Mir won in a lackluster fashion by unanimous decision after three rounds; the judges all scored the bout 29–28.[24] Criticism began to flourish with Mir not looking like the same fighter as he was before, both physically and technically.

Mir next faced Brandon Vera at UFC 65: Bad Intentions, in a fight that would determine the number one contender.[25] Mir showed slightly improved sharpness on his feet, and boxed well until being stunned by a straight right from Vera.[26] He was then dropped by knees from Vera's Muay Thai clinch, where the smaller Vera delivered elbows and punches from side control, forcing the referee to stop the fight.[26] Mir lost by TKO at only 1:09 of the first round.[26] While preparing for UFC 140, Mir explained that the reason why he suffered the two losses to Cruz and Vera was because even after having 14 months of recovery, he was still feeling the effects of the motorcycle accident he had.[27]

Rise back to title contention[edit]

Frank Mir was scheduled to fight kickboxer Antoni Hardonk at UFC Fight Night 9 on April 5, 2007, but had to drop out due to a shoulder injury.[28] Mir recovered from the shoulder injury and fought Antoni Hardonk at UFC 74 and won via kimura in 1:17 of the first round.[29] At the end of the bout, Mir walked to the cameras pointing at himself saying "I'm back!". Frank's wife Jennifer was shown on the replay screaming and crying with joy when Frank secured the kimura and the fight was stopped.

On February 2, 2008, at UFC 81, Mir welcomed former WWE wrestler Brock Lesnar to the octagon for Lesnar's highly anticipated debut. It took Lesnar less than 10 seconds to shoot for a takedown and muscle Mir to the mat. However, seconds after Lesnar began to unload strikes from Mir's half guard, Referee Steve Mazzagatti controversially deemed that there were some illegal punches landed to the back of Mir's head, drawing a foul and a one-point deduction.[30][31] They were stood up and Mir was given a brief recovery period, but as the fight resumed Mir was almost instantly dropped with a big punch from Lesnar. Lesnar continued to land punches on Mir and shucked off Mir's armbar attempt before moving to a stacked guard. It was here that Mir caught the inexperience Lesnar with a kneebar, causing Lesnar to tap out at 1:30 of the first round.[32] Mir was awarded with Submission of the Night honors.[33]

The Ultimate Fighter Season 8[edit]

Spike TV announced on May 12, 2008 that former UFC champion Frank Mir would face off with the current UFC Interim Heavyweight Champion and former PRIDE Heavyweight Champion Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira as the coaches for the eighth season of The Ultimate Fighter.[34]

The season, which premiered on Spike TV on September 17, returned to the two-weight class format. It featured Light Heavyweight and Lightweight fighters.[35] Production on season eight began in late May, with the entire cast announced in September, and concluded in December.[35]

Second Heavyweight Championship[edit]

Frank Mir fought his fellow Ultimate Fighter coach, Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira, at UFC 92 for the Interim UFC Heavyweight Championship.[36] This bout was part of a mini-Heavyweight tournament, often hyped by UFC president Dana White. The winner of this fight would then face the winner of the match between the Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture and Brock Lesnar. Lesnar defeated Couture by TKO in the second round, earning him the Heavyweight Championship belt in the process and setting him to face the winner of Noguerira/Mir to unify the belts.[37]

"I wish I could make the statement that 'the odds were against me but you never quit', It was not true. I wanted to give up."

-Frank Mir, talking about his career ups and downs.[38]

In the fight with Nogueira, Mir showcased vastly improved striking, particularly his boxing, knocking down the Brazilian twice in the first round, and once in the second. [38][39] Herb Dean stopped the match at 1:54 of the second round declaring Frank Mir the winner.[39] Nogueira's loss marked the first time he has lost a fight due to strikes.[40] In a post-fight interview, Mir credited his improved striking to a drastic improvement in conditioning.[41]

Two days after the fight, Dana White revealed in an interview that "Nogueira had just gotten over a Staph infection".[42] Nogueira himself verified this fact several months later in his own interview, stating that he had a staph infection "20 days before the fight, [requiring] 5 days in the hospital." When asked if this infection affected his fight, Nogueira answered: "For sure." In addition to this illness, his knee was injured during training for which he had surgery in February 2009. Despite these handicaps, Nogueira offered strong praise for Mir's performance, with particular credit given to Mir's ability to maintain "very good distance".[43]

Heavyweight championship unification[edit]

Mir's victory over Nogueira set in place a re-match with the UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar for the UFC Heavyweight Championship.[44] However, Mir stated, that in his opinion, holding victories over former UFC Interim Heavyweight Champion Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira at UFC 92 and current UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar at UFC 81 is enough to recognize him as the owner of the "real belt".[45] On May 23, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada, Mir was scheduled to fight Brock Lesnar at UFC 98, however Mir sustained a knee injury during training which required arthroscopic surgery and the removal of bone chips from his knee. Mir's rematch against Brock Lesnar was rescheduled for UFC 100, July 11, 2009.[46]

At UFC 100, Mir was lively on his feet but proved unable to counter Lesnar's wrestling and positional dominance. In the second round, after being allowed to standup, he landed a combo ending with a turning right elbow which forced Lesnar to look for a clinch. Mir took this opportunity to attempt a jumping right knee, which landed, but ultimately resulted in Lesnar securing another takedown. After a short period of recovery from the knee, Lesnar pinned Mir up against the cage and delivered multiple unanswered blows to his face, forcing referee Herb Dean to stop the fight via TKO at 1:48 in the second round. With the win, Lesnar became the undisputed UFC Heavyweight Champion.[47]

"A lot of individuals are so worried about being politically correct. I'd rather go ahead and say what's on my mind than to sit there and come up with some PC 'Oh, the guy is a great fighter and I have a lot of respect for him.' If I don't mean it, why is it even coming out of my mouth? ... I want to fight Lesnar. I hate who he is as a person. I want to break his neck in the ring. I want him to be the first person that dies due to Octagon-related injuries. That's what's going through my mind."

-Frank Mir after UFC 107.[48]

Mir vs. Kongo[edit]

Mir had his next fight against Cheick Kongo on December 12, 2009 at UFC 107. Mir was expected to weigh 20 to 25 lbs heavier than usual, due to the strength and conditioning program that he had undertaken to largely improve his muscular frame. As expected, Mir weighed in for his fight against Kongo at 264.5 lbs. At the weigh-ins, Kongo refused to face Mir during the traditional stare-down before the fight. During the fight, Mir stunned Kongo with an overhand left early, dropping him and swarming to secure a guillotine choke victory at 1:12 in the first round. Kongo refused to tap and was rendered unconscious by the choke.[49] Frank Mir replaced his striking coach Ken Hahn with Boxing trainer Jimmy Gifford 2 months prior to his fight against Cheick Kongo.

In the post-fight press conference, Mir expressed his desire to fight a rubber match with Brock Lesnar.[50] Mir later created controversy after commenting that he wanted to break Lesnar's neck, so that he would become the first mixed martial artist to die in competition.[51] Mir later made an apology for his comments.[52]

Interim Heavyweight Championship bout[edit]

Mir faced Shane Carwin for the UFC Interim Heavyweight Championship on March 27, 2010 at UFC 111.[53] After a brief standup exchange, Carwin pushed Mir against the cage where he delivered to Mir's chin several short uppercuts. Mir was knocked out unconscious and lost the fight via knockout at 3:48 of the first round.[54]

At a UFC Fan Expo, Mir said he briefly considered dropping down to the Light Heavyweight division, although he later confirmed he will remain at Heavyweight.[55]

Second rise back to title contention[edit]

Mir was expected to face Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira on September 25, 2010 at UFC 119 in a rematch from the Interim Championship bout, which Mir won via TKO at UFC 92.[56] Nogueira pulled out of this fight due to knee surgery and was replaced by Mirko Filipović.[57] Mir defeated Filipović via third-round knockout, earning the win with a knee from the clinch in a largely uneventful fight where neither fighter was able to deliver any significant offense.[58]

Mir faced former IFL Heavyweight Champion Roy Nelson on May 28, 2011 at UFC 130. He won via unanimous decision by using superior control and constant pressure. Pushing against the cage, completing a Judo hip throw and securing several takedowns in the third round, showing improved wrestling. Mir landed several hard knees and elbows from the Muay Thai clinch throughout the entire bout, but was unable to finish the very tough Nelson.[59][60]

"I had a strong inclination that he Nogueira was not going to tap, so I took a deep breath and you guys saw what happened. I was being a little too reactionary. When he caught me with the right hand, at that point, it turned into a war. I started to move around and he wanted to play jiu-jitsu with me. I’m pretty good on the ground."

-Frank Mir at the UFC 140 post-fight press conference.[61]

A rematch with Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira took place on December 10, 2011 at UFC 140.[62] In the bout, Mir was dropped during the first round by a punch from Nogueira and the bout nearly stopped. Mir quickly recovered and gained superior positioning, defeating Nogueira by kimura at 3:38 of round 1, snapping Nogueira's arm in the process because Nogueira refused to tap. Mir is now the first of only three fighters (the others being Cain Velasquez and Roy Nelson to have finished Nogueira via knockout, and the first to finish him via submission. This marked the first time Nogueira had been stopped via submission in mixed martial arts. The victory also earned Mir Submission of the Night honors.[63] UFC President Dana White called it the "submission of the century" at the post-fight press conference.[61]

Third title shot and beyond[edit]

Mir was expected to face Cain Velasquez on May 25, 2012 at UFC 146.[64] However, on April 20, 2012, Dana White announced that Mir would face Brazilian Junior dos Santos for the UFC Heavyweight Championship, replacing kickboxer Alistair Overeem. On May 11, 2012 UFC Primetime returned to promote the fight between Mir and dos Santos, and concluded on May 25.[65] Dos Santos was able to use superior foot work to strike on and out before Mir could mount any significant offense.[66] Mir lost the fight via TKO in the second round.[66] and has since said he will continue his career and go back to the drawing board.

The UFC announced that Mir had been given a one fight sabbatical to compete under the Strikeforce banner to challenge Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Tournament Champion Daniel Cormier.[67] The bout with Cormier was expected to take place on November 3, 2012 at Strikeforce: Cormier vs. Mir.[68] However, on September 19 it was revealed that Mir suffered an injury in training and was forced to pull out of the bout.[69] The bout with Cormier was rescheduled for April 20, 2013 at UFC on Fox 7.[70] Mir lost the fight by unanimous decision.[71]

Mir faced returning former UFC Heavyweight Champion Josh Barnett on August 31, 2013 at UFC 164.[72] Mir lost via TKO, afterwards protesting that this was an early stoppage.[73]

Mir was scheduled to face Alistair Overeem on November 16, 2013 at UFC 167.[74] However, the pairing was moved to February 1, 2014 at UFC 169.[75] He lost the fight via unanimous decision.

Mir was expected to face Antônio Silva on February 28, 2015 at UFC 184.[76] However, the bout with Silva was moved up a week and served as event headliner for UFC Fight Night 61.[77] Despite being the betting underdog, Mir won the fight via knockout in the first round, dropping Silva with a left hook and finishing him with a barrage of ground and pound.[78] Subsequently, Mir won a Performance of the Night bonus.[79]

Personal life[edit]

Mir's father is Cuban, born of Moroccan immigrants of Russian descent. The surname "Mir" translated from Russian, means "world" or "peace" (depending upon the context). The family name was never "Miranda" as the fighter and his father already explained to the press.[80] Mir and his wife Jennifer have three children together and Jennifer has a son from a previous relationship, whom Mir helps raise and is in the process of formally adopting.[81][82]

Mir is an atheist[83] and a Libertarian.[84] He followed a vegan diet for a year[85] but then switched to Paleo diet for supposedly better athletic outcome.[86] Mir suffers from low testosterone and has been undergoing testosterone replacement therapy since 2012.[87]

Mir worked as a bouncer at the Spearmint Rhino strip club in Las Vegas before entering the UFC,[88] and continued to work as Director of Security there while pursuing his UFC career.[89]

Color commentary[edit]

Frank Mir was a color commentator for the World Extreme Cagefighting until WEC 47, where he was officially replaced by Stephan Bonnar who had filled in for Mir due to training commitments.[90][91]

In June, 2012, Mir stated on an interview with The Chronicle-Journal that he wants to go into commentary when he retires from the UFC.[92] "I like analyzing fights and I like doing color commentating" - said Mir. "It’s an opportunity I would take advantage of when I run into it. Hopefully it’s something I can do full time".[93]

Championships and achievements[edit]

Mixed martial arts[edit]

Submission grappling[edit]

Amateur wrestling[edit]

  • Nevada State Wrestling
    • Nevada State Wrestling Champion (1998)

Mixed martial arts record[edit]

Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Win 17–9 Antônio Silva KO (punches and elbows) UFC Fight Night: Bigfoot vs. Mir February 22, 2015 1 1:40 Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil Performance of the Night.
Loss 16–9 Alistair Overeem Decision (unanimous) UFC 169 February 1, 2014 3 5:00 Newark, New Jersey, United States
Loss 16–8 Josh Barnett TKO (knee) UFC 164 August 31, 2013 1 1:56 Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States
Loss 16–7 Daniel Cormier Decision (unanimous) UFC on Fox: Henderson vs. Melendez April 20, 2013 3 5:00 San Jose, California, United States
Loss 16–6 Junior dos Santos TKO (punches) UFC 146 May 26, 2012 2 3:04 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States For the UFC Heavyweight Championship.
Win 16–5 Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira Technical Submission (kimura) UFC 140 December 10, 2011 1 3:38 Toronto, Ontario, Canada Submission of the Night; 2011 Submission of the Year.
Win 15–5 Roy Nelson Decision (unanimous) UFC 130 May 28, 2011 3 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 14–5 Mirko Filipović KO (knee) UFC 119 September 25, 2010 3 4:02 Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
Loss 13–5 Shane Carwin KO (punches) UFC 111 March 27, 2010 1 3:48 Newark, New Jersey, United States For the Interim UFC Heavyweight Championship.
Win 13–4 Cheick Kongo Technical Submission (guillotine choke) UFC 107 December 12, 2009 1 1:12 Memphis, Tennessee, United States
Loss 12–4 Brock Lesnar TKO (punches) UFC 100 July 11, 2009 2 1:48 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States For the Unified UFC Heavyweight Championship.
Win 12–3 Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira TKO (punches) UFC 92 December 27, 2008 2 1:57 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Won the Interim UFC Heavyweight Championship.
Win 11–3 Brock Lesnar Submission (kneebar) UFC 81 February 2, 2008 1 1:30 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Submission of the Night; 2008 Submission of the Year.
Win 10–3 Antoni Hardonk Submission (kimura) UFC 74 August 25, 2007 1 1:17 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Loss 9-3 Brandon Vera TKO (knees and punches) UFC 65 November 18, 2006 1 1:09 Sacramento, California, United States
Win 9–2 Dan Christison Decision (unanimous) UFC 61 July 8, 2006 3 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Loss 8–2 Márcio Cruz TKO (punches) UFC 57 February 4, 2006 1 4:10 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 8–1 Tim Sylvia Technical Submission (armbar) UFC 48 June 19, 2004 1 0:50 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Won the UFC Heavyweight Championship.
Win 7–1 Wes Sims KO (knee and punches) UFC 46 January 31, 2004 2 4:21 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 6–1 Wes Sims DQ (illegal stomping) UFC 43 June 6, 2003 1 2:55 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 5–1 Tank Abbott Submission (toe hold) UFC 41 February 28, 2003 1 0:45 Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States
Loss 4-1 Ian Freeman TKO (punches) UFC 38 July 13, 2002 1 4:35 London,England
Win 4–0 Pete Williams Submission (Mir lock) UFC 36 March 22, 2002 1 0:46 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 3–0 Roberto Traven Submission (armbar) UFC 34 November 2, 2001 1 1:05 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Submission of the Night.
Win 2–0 Dan Quinn Submission (triangle armbar) IFC 15 August 31, 2001 1 2:15 Oroville, California, United States
Win 1–0 Jerome Smith Decision (unanimous) SF 11 July 14, 2001 2 5:00 Evansville, Indiana, United States

See also[edit]


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External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Tim Sylvia
10th UFC Heavyweight Champion
June 19, 2004 – August 12, 2005
Stripped of title due to motorcycle accident injury
Title next held by
Andrei Arlovski
Preceded by
Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira
3rd UFC Interim Heavyweight Champion
December 27, 2008 – July 11, 2009
Lost unification bout against Brock Lesnar
Title next held by
Shane Carwin