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Frank Mir says every time Kimbo Slice fights it sets the sport back in new exclusive 5 Oz. Interview

Los Angeles, Calif. – The UFC’s breakthrough reality show “The Ultimate Fighter” gears up once again for its eighth season premiering tonight on Spike TV. Current interim UFC heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir will both be featured as coaches this season and after completing an interview last week with Nogueira, was also afforded the opportunity to speak with Mir.

While Mir was made available in order to promote TUF, he was more than willing to discuss everything and anything MMA in what proved to be an intriguing interview. During the course of the conversation we asked Mir to share his thoughts on the recent return of Randy Couture, the surprise upset win of Rashad Evans over Chuck Liddell, his experiences being on the show and the motorcycle accident that nearly ended his career.

As any regular fan of the UFC, WEC, or ESPN’s “MMA Live” knows, Mir’s ability to convey his thought and opinions is second to none and in this one-on-one interview with 5 Oz.’s he was never at a loss for words.

Gary Ibarra: The publisher of recently wrote a piece about ESPN’s reaction to UFC 88 the upset victory of Rashad Evans over Chuck Liddell. He said that he was all set to write a piece chastising ESPN for its lack of coverage but was pleasantly surprised when SportsCenter aired a ringside satellite segment with Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg breaking down the fight and discussing the outcomes. How much effect do you think a show like TUF has on the perception of MMA to the mainstream sports media and the public in general who watch the show?

Frank Mir: I think the show goes a long way towards humanizing the sport and the guys. By having the cameras in the house it acts as sort of a window into the real lives of the people who take the sport seriously, and how they really are when they are not in the ring, they’re mostly just regular kids. I mean let’s face it, the public’s perception of MMA is not exactly fantastic. Every time guys like Tank Abbot or Krazy Horse (Charles Bennett) fought or even now with Kimbo Slice; every time Kimbo fights it sets the sport back. Guys like that just reinforce the idea in the public’s eye that we are all blood thirsty barbarians who just want to pummel each other and that there is no skill required. Guys like them do the sport a disservice.

Gary Ibarra: While the formula of the show usually involves playing up some of the confrontations between members of the cast and a little trash talking between the coaches as I’m sure this season was no different, how does it feel to go back and forth with someone whom you’ve said previously is like an idol to you?

Frank Mir: Anyone who’s expecting to see any animosity or back-and-forth between me and Noguiera, as is usually the case between coaches on the show, is going to be extremely disappointed. There wasn’t any of that. Sure there were times when I didn’t like him just as much as I’m sure there were times he didn’t like me, but we let our guys do the fighting for us. We definitely fought vicariously through them this season.

Gary Ibarra: This season I’m sure there are several fighters who you saw that have the potential to make a a career in MMA. But was there any one fighter that you can talk about who you saw that you thought immediately “That guy is going to make it”?

Frank Mir: That’s what I would say is the difference between this season’s cast and the previous casts: the talent level; there is a lot of depth here this season. So much so that I’ve even pulled training partners to help me prepare for my fight with Noguiera. The number of guys that you’ll see on undercards and prelims in the UFC is a definitely high with this group. I would go as far as to say its actually easier for me to pick out the guys who won’t make it just because there were so few of them, I would definitely put this season’s 16 guys against any of the other 16 from previous seasons.

Gary Ibarra: The list of people who were contestants or who have been coaches previously reads like an A list in the UFC: Liddell, Couture, Ortiz, Shamrock, Penn, Pulver, Griffin, and Jackson to name a few. Most of these guys are surefire Hall of Famers. Do you think adding Mir to this list means that you will be there as well?

Frank Mir: Yeah, I would say I will. Obviously it’s going to depend on my next couple of performances, but I do think my name belongs with those others, absolutely.

Gary Ibarra: You’ve been training martial arts almost your entire life, was it difficult for you to become a coach?

Frank Mir: No, not really. My dad owned a martial arts school and I’ve been training my whole life so it wasn’t that much of a stretch. I love martial arts. I like learning new things myself. I’m always sharpening my skills and trying to get better so I liked the teaching aspect of the show.

Gary Ibarra: What would it mean to you to have this season’s winner come from your team?

Frank Mir: It would be satisfying, no doubt, but I couldn’t take too much credit for it. All we as coaches do is impart the knowledge to the best of our ability but it’s up the fighter once he’s in the ring to use that knowledge. Obviously I’d be happy if it was my guy, but I could never attribute another fighter’s performance to myself. I can say that one thing I didn’t count on that happened was the emotional attachment to the guys. You see a good kid lose and it bothers you. I definitely took it home with me some nights.

Gary Ibarra: Was there anything you could say you didn’t like about your experience on the show? Or was there anything you’d like to change about the show itself?

Frank Mir: The only thing I didn’t like is the way the preliminary fights are chosen. I’m not sure there’s much though put into it beforehand. It was more like “Okay, where’s the list? Okay, now you fight you and you fight you and you fight you.” It upset me a little because I would see two guys that were really great fighters have to fight each other in order to get in the house and then two guys who were not so good be put against each other. And I’m thinking if these two good guys both fought those two not so good guys, that would ensure we got the best talent into the house. I think there should have been a little better process to determine who fights who in the prelims.

Gary Ibarra: The show’s validation in the world of MMA is no longer questionable with the rise of alums like Rashad Evans, Forrest Griffin, and Kenny Florian to name a few, what do you foresee as the next step in the growth of MMA?

Frank Mir: I see its growth in popularity only continuing, eventually to the point that boxing had in when it was at its highest point. The only reason it hasn’t reached that point already is the stigma attached to the term “Cage Fighter.” The powers that be may be from a different generation, one that sees the sport as a novelty or having little or no value, but once those people who have that idea are gone you’ll see the sport rise to where it should be. It’s just going to take time.

Gary Ibarra: Your leg injury in 2004 caused people to question weather or not you’d even keep your leg let alone fight again, did you ever question weather or not you’d ever recover?

Frank Mir: Absolutely, I took my first fight back after my injury knowing that I wasn’t ready. I told myself, if I lose to (Marcio) Cruz, I already know in my mind that I wasn’t ready and so I’d have an excuse for myself built in. And after I lost that’s exactly what I did, I excused myself. My next fight I still didn’t feel like I was 100% but I took the fight anyway and after that close win it was the same thing. But in the Vera fight I really felt like I was back to normal. I was squatting in the gym, jumping around on it(the leg), I thought I was back, and when I lost I really felt like I was done. I was convinced that was it. The accident had really ruined my career. I told my wife Jenny “That’s it honey, I think its time to retire.” To say she talked me out of it is putting it mildly. She really let me have it for even talking about quitting. But that was exactly what I needed. I credit her for my rededication to the sport, I wouldn’t be here now if it wasn’t for her.

Gary Ibarra: The injury would have been devastating to most people. It was a definite possibility that you may never fight again. How did the UFC react to their heavyweight champion being told that his career was in danger?

Frank Mir: They reacted the best way they knew how. They waited a lot longer for me then I would have in their position. They created an interim title. Bottom line is they gave me the opportunity to fight again, that’s was all I could ask for.

Gary Ibarra: What did you think of the Evans vs. Liddell outcome?

Frank Mir: I think that Greg Jackson is the greatest trainer of all time.

Gary Ibarra: How did you feel when you heard about Randy Couture’s return to the UFC?

Frank Mir: I was glad to hear it. Randy deserves to be in the UFC if he wants to be and I was just happy that all the legal back-and-forth ended and we get to see him fight again.

Gary Ibarra: And what did you think about him getting the fight against Lesnar right off the bat?

Frank Mir: The only problem I have with that decision by the UFC was that I think they should have waited for the outcome of my fight with ‘Nog to decide who Randy would fight in his return. It would have been better for them to have Randy fight the winner of our fight in order to determine who the heavyweight champion should be. The current champion with the interim tag or the previous champion, that’s what I would have done but it’s not my decision.

Gary Ibarra: Noguiera is one of, if not the most experienced heavyweight champions in the UFC’s history. He gives his opponents a lot to deal with his advanced ground game and ability to outlast his opponents even after sustaining major punishment. Can you give me any insight as to your game plan for fighting him?

Frank Mir: Anyone who goes for broke thinking that they’ve got ‘Nog in trouble has ended up losing. It’s that simple. He bates a lot of his opponents into basically punching themselves out; he outlasts them into the later rounds and finds a way to submit them after their exhausted. I know the fight will end up on the ground. His legs are so bad and I kick so heavy that there’s no way he’s going to want to stand with me. I just need to make sure I don’t get gassed. Going into the later rounds is not something I’m used to which is what gives him an advantage. Our games are completely opposite of each other so it’s going to be interesting.

Gary Ibarra: If you had the ability to fight anyone in the sport of mixed martial arts if weight and time were not a factor, which fighter — past of present — would you choose?

Frank Mir: Anderson Silva, definitely. His ability and his skill set is so diverse that he would definitely be someone I’d like to test my skills against.

Gary Ibarra: Would you ever come down in weight to fight him?

Frank Mir: (Laughing) I think I’ll wait for him to come up.

Editor’s Note: In addition to being a contributor for, Gary Ibarra is also the owner of his own MMA clothing line, Graffight Apparel. Graffight has established sponsor-based relationships with several fighters. You can click here to access the list.

  • Joe P. says:

    Awesome interview. Frank Mir is one of the most respectable guys in MMA. He never avoids questions and is always willing to speak his mind in the most professional manner.

    One of the best in MMA, no doubt.

  • Mark Aulet says:

    Good interview. Loved the Anderson Silva part especially. Also Frank’s honesty is a breath of fresh air. No canned replies here!

  • I have become a huge fan of Mir!! I think Melvin Guillard needs to learn from him! If u remember when Mir first jumped on the scene he was a cocky guy that loved running his mouth and didn’t care what people thought and that almost killed him with his reckless accident! He came back a man who knew he was given a second shot at life and what he loves to do! He is great on WEC when commentating and loves the sport! God bless u frank

  • Patrick says:

    Frank is by far the most well spoken fighter in MMA, close second being Florian. When Frank does retire from MMA in general, they need to make him an announcer for not just the WEC but for the UFC as well, he definitely provides the most technical insight into fighting by far.

  • Guy Gaduois says:

    Agree, Patrick – how great would it be to hear a fight called by Mir and Florian?

  • Dr.Stoppage says:

    Kimbo Slice reminds me of the early years of the UFC,the minimal rules ,no time limit stuff.
    That’s why I’m looking forward to the Kimbo vs.Ken fight.
    Nothing wrong with that.
    Is that the same as setting the sport back?
    Maybe,maybe not.
    Either way,I’m happy Mir is BACK.
    Now if only someone could teach Lesnar to call him ‘Meer’ and not ‘Mur’.

  • warcry says:

    That was excellent. Mir was thoughtful and interesting. The Anderson Silva reference was intriguing.

  • Jay K. says:

    Great interview Gary. I really enjoyed it and it furthered my appreciation for Frank Mir as both a fighter and a great all around MMA guy.


    Jay K.

  • PokerFace says:

    Frank Mir has morphed into a class act, but he really needs to clean up his funk and wagnals on the WEC, please say HAS instead of gots.

  • I was very happy that Frank included Crazy horse in his list of things bad for MMA. That guy is a disgrace and the fact that Gary Shaw tried to make him an early star of EXC soured me forever. I do not respect any fighter that does not respect the sport.
    Frank has become and excellent color man. I love how he can tell you what somone will do 3 moves ahead. Very intelligent and well spoken.

  • JJ Docker says:

    Congratulations on a great interview Gary. Mir possibly gives the best interviews of all MMA fighters. Definately in terms of honesty and articulation anyway.

  • ihateemo says:

    Great interview, though curious that you would take the Kimbo comment – a throwaway comment at best! – and make it the article’s headline.

    Either way, I’m a big fan of Mir. He gives fantastic interviews. Thanks!

  • Joseph says:

    The fact that Mir has to mention Kimbo’s name to get publicity says more about how popular Kimbo is rather than how bad he is for the sport.

  • Sonny says:

    One of the many reasons I love the WEC is Frank Mir’s commentating; he’s a fighter so he knows what’s usually going through their minds and will often tell Goldberg what the fighter should do to win or gain higher ground.

    As the poster up above me said: “I love how he can tell you what somone will do 3 moves ahead.”

    Plus, TUF 8 should be righteous with Mir and ‘Nog as coaches. I thought Rampage and Forrest was exciting but I feel this one will be outstanding.

  • Frank J. says:

    Frank has turned quite the company man. The undisputed worst heavyweight title holder in history will fade after losing in December and then losing to Cain, Carwin, Gonzaga etc..

  • Stevextreme says:

    Mir and florian wouldnt be as good as Mir and rogan.

  • fightfan says:

    Was never much of a Mir fan…..but anyone that will go out and speak the truth, I can respect. Him talking about Klice is great and it is true. MMA is not scripted beatings inflicted by a big guy with DECENT striking skills at best against SLOW, FAT, OLD, out of shape hand picked opponents

  • cm40 says:

    I love Mir.
    But I hate that he says Guillotine without leaving the Ls silent.
    Damn it! The word is french!
    There’s no L sound in there!

  • Kelvin says:

    I think Mir got it wrong on the Kimbo comment…otherwise good interview.

  • Bad Monkey says:

    cm40, that may be the gayest criticism of an announcer in the history of the internet.

  • the count of monte fisto says:

    mir is articulate and shows good insight but has never been a great heavyweight. nog will beat him then cain ,randy , gonzaga etc. and as for him claiming his right to be a hall of famer , i mean come on frank is planet mir outta control or what?, i remember ian freeman beating the living daylights out of him in his glory days. mir is average on a good day.

  • Loco541 says:

    frank is such a hater, i hope nog just destroys him

  • Mike Wolfe says:

    Mir’s comments on how to fight Nog were pretty insightful. I don’t know whether he’ll win given Nog’s ability to aborb punishment, recover and overcome. But the fact that Mir has thought about it suggests he has a game plan. His submission win over Lesnar tought me not to count him out.

  • Toque says:

    I’d love to see the UFC commentary be elevated above, “He’s rocked! He rocked him!”

    And I like Joe Rogan & Mike Goldberg.

    Bring back Jim Brown: “Right about now he’s tappin’ out which is a luxury that my first wife did not have back in ’63. I told her ‘you can run your mouth all you want – but you best recognize there aint no referee in my living room’.”

  • Jake says:

    cm40- I hear ya dude everytime i hear the word said like that it drives me crazy.

  • THORAZINE says:

    Franks’ a gud guy, I like him, I don’t think he’s the best commentator, he’s good and I respect him because he’s a fighter, much better than a non-mma fighter commentating. I don’t think Frank is the fighter he was when he submitted Silva’ but I’m glad he stuck with the sport and has re-risen to this level. He deserves this opportunity and I think he would make a great coach and should open up his own gym.

  • tallsforeverybody says:

    pokerface…thank you for that [email protected]!

    my only critique of Mir is “he gots…”! it just kills me when I hear that. even more than my inability to hit caps!

  • tallsforeverybody says:

    oh…and he’s right about Kimbo.

    too bad he KTFO’d tank so quick, we could have forgotten about him months ago.

    so many folks have worked so hard to present a legit product to the public and this fool and his handlers have access to the public airways.

    hopefully ken will take his ass down and make him tap like a bitch.

  • Truth says:

    How do no skill brawlers set the sport back? When they get into deeper waters, they either evolve into skilled fighters or they lose, legitimizing the sport as a “skill sport” in the process.

    As for the comment about the blood thirsty barbarians… spare me. I love fighting and I have a ton of respect for the fighters as a whole, but please don’t bullshit me by trying to imply that the majority of fighters or even athletes in general are “classy” professionals. Most of them are people with at least a little bit of a rough history in the character department. Fighters like Kimbo are no different from the majority of them in that regard.

  • […] the Phillipe Nover vs. Joe Duarte fight was excellent. After watching it, I could understand why Frank Mir was so vocal in his exclusive interview with Gary Ibarra were determined. regarding how the qualifying matchupsDuarte was not good enough to beat Nover but […]

  • haha says:

    if that is all “gots” on him ,u must not like him


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