Frank Mir uses what he as learned as a martial artist through experience to build on his career. As he progressively matures, he continues to give back to the sport. Here are the highs and lows of a true martial artist.
By: Jordan Blyth
Last updated: Sep 20, 2011
Frank Mir is currently signed with Nutrabolics Supplement Company.
In September 2004, Frank suffered a devastating car accident.
He is set to take on Brock Lesnar at UFC 100 on July 7, 2009.
A martial artist should not be defined by their accomplishments alone; rather they should be defined by their entire journey to those accomplishments. With a journey that could be written as a script for Hollywood, Frank Mir is a true martial artist. He has experienced the highest highs and the lowest lows, but it is this path that has made him who he is.
The journey is far from over for Frank. He uses what he as learned as a martial artist through experience to build on his career. As he progressively matures, he continues to give back to the sport. This second time UFC interim heavyweight champion, at the age of 29, has many opportunities left to test his limits.
Click Image To Enlarge. Frank Mir Has Experienced The Highest Highs And The Lowest Lows.
[ Q ] How did you get started in MMA?
I started studying karate as a child and as I grew older I was always on the lookout for martial arts that would increase my abilities and knowledge base.
[ Q ] You are known more for Jiu-Jitsu than striking, but I heard you were reluctant at first when it came to learning Jiu-Jitsu. What made you change your mind?
Like many, the first martial art that you get involved in usually dominates your belief system. Like most, after seeing the early UFC's, my eyes opened and I said to myself and my father that I need to start studying Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in order to expand and complete my skill set.
[ Q ] You won your first two MMA matches before joining the UFC. Your first fight in the UFC was against former ADCC Champion Roberto Traven. This was not exactly an easy match up, yet you arm barred him in the first round. What was that whole experience like?
The opportunity and experience of fighting a 2-time World Jiu-Jitsu Champion was exhilarating. My attitude in fighting in MMA vs. sport Jiu Jitsu is such that I believe it leveled the playing field when I fought Mr. Traven.
When I enter the ring I'm there to stop you - to finish you. I don't enter the ring just to make you tap out. I want to remove your limbs and knock you out. Or at least that's what I'm thinking in my mind. However, we all know the goal of the sport is not just to injure your opponent.
I hope that my opponent has time to tap prior to me having to follow through on a submission. Unfortunately, due to the amount of torque that I inflict, few opponents actually have the time to tap prior to something breaking or separating itself from its hinges.
Click Image To Enlarge. I Want To Remove Your Limbs And Knock You Out.
In the case of the Roberto Traven match, when I approached, kicked and punched him into a sitting position against the cage he presented his arm to me in what I looked as an opportunity. With the force of my body and hip thrust I fell to the side with his arm in an arm bar position and broke his elbow unfortunately. The experience was surreal.
[ Q ] You then submitted Pete Williams, who had never been submitted before, with a shoulder lock. This is now known as the 'Mirlock'. Who coined that phrase?
I am not sure. It's not a rare position. But, if you get the opportunity to apply it and the person doesn't have a good defense to it then they are in deep trouble fast.
It will rip your elbow and shoulder out of joint quickly. If you watch that fight closely you can see the grimace on Pete's face. He wanted nothing to do with that position.
RELATED VIDEO: Mir Lock
Here is a shoulder lock from the open guard that Frank Mir pulled of against Pete Williams.
[ Q ] You then faced your first setback when you were knocked out in the first round by Ian Freeman. What did you take out of that defeat?
I learned that I don't like travelling out of town to fight. I don't like different time zones if I can avoid them. With all due respect Ian Freeman is one tough dude, but I was immature and didn't take my training seriously enough.
[ Q ] After that you went on to defeat Tank Abbott (toe hold) and Wes Sims twice (DQ, KO) and found yourself fighting for the vacant UFC heavyweight belt vs. Tim Sylvia. You won that fight in somewhat dramatic fashion by breaking Tim's arm in the first round. Had you ever broken anyone's limbs before?
Yes, I broke Roberto Traven's arm, Pete William's shoulder, Tank's ankle, and that was just in the UFC. Since then there have been other unfortunate mishaps for my opponents as well.
Tim's was an interesting break since I snapped his forearm in half. You have to give him credit though. Even with his arm snapped in two he was still trying to pick me up with the same arm. He wanted to continue to fight me 1-handed.
Click Image To Enlarge. I Broke Roberto Traven's Arm, Pete William's Shoulder, Tank's Ankle, And That Was Just In The UFC.
[ Q ] What prepared you for that moment and that fight? What was it like winning the belt?
It was an odd experience. The crowd didn't totally get that I had busted his arm in half and so they were surprised by the stoppage.
I am proud of the accomplishment and winning at such a young age but I must admit that my maturity has helped me to appreciate winning the interim belt from Nogueira more this time.
[ Q ] Tell us about what took place in September, 2004.
It's been written about so much so I'll keep it short. I got T-boned by a car when I was going about 50 mph on my motorcycle by a car going about 60 mph. I flew off my bike and hit my head on the curb over 100 ft away. I tried to get up but my leg wouldn't allow it. I got dizzy. I vomited in my helmet.
People approaching me at the scene thought I was dead but I could hear everything. It was odd. I was simply trying not to aspirate so I could handle the whole ordeal. I got emergency surgery and was told I'd never walk correctly again, let alone fight at the highest level and win another championship belt against one of the greatest fighters in history.
Click Image To Enlarge. Frank Mir On The Cover Of The January 2009 Issue Of Muscle & Fitness.
[ Q ] This must have been a tough time for you. What was the hardest part of it?
What was tough was that I just finished winning the belt. I was due to get married weeks later and we were just starting a family.
Because of the accident I was faced with not being able to provide for my family in the way I best knew how. It wasn't about me; it was about my family, my children, my wife, my future children ...
[ Q ] What do you credit for your successful rehabilitation?
Fortitude and desire. Wanting to claw back and do things that experts said I couldn't.
RELATED VIDEO: 2009 Arnold Classic
Frank Mir Interview!
Ron Avidan talks with Frank Mir about his upcoming fight, his backstage fight preperation and more.
[ Q ] Your comeback, however, did not go as smoothly as planned. You lost your first fight back getting KO'd in the first round, defeated by Dan Christison (decision) then got KO'd again in the first round by Brandon Vera. What was your state of mind after this?
Thanks for reminding me! My state of mind obviously wasn't optimal. I came back too fast without the right attitude, but I have now learned my lesson. I will not allow that to happen again in the future.
[ Q ] Did you ever think of quitting?
No. It was frustrating and I questioned myself, but I have an excellent support network.
Click Image To Enlarge. I Have An Excellent Support Network.
[ Q ] Then you fought Antoni Hardonk and submitted him with a Kimura in the first round. How big of a win was this fight for the momentum of your career?
It was huge, I was faced with some ultimatums personally and professionally. I wanted to perform at the highest level and the UFC told me it was a do or die situation.
If I lost, I had to rebuild my career elsewhere. You are the FIRST to hear that. The UFC said we want to see the old Frank Mir. I told them they'd be seeing the new Frank Mir, which is exactly what I did.
[ Q ] You then got picked to fight former WWE superstar Brock Lesnar. Even though it was only his second professional MMA fight a lot of people seemed to think he would beat you. Did you use this as motivation?
I don't really fight for the fans. I love the fans, don't get me wrong, but as a martial artist I fight to test myself - to be the best I can be in any given situation. In the cage it's pure - you and your opponent, toe to toe.
Generally I am evenly matched, yet we each possess a unique skill set. In the case of Brock I was a little surprised that people thought he was going to beat me easily, yet it only took 90 seconds or so to change their minds.
[ Q ] You were then paired against Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira to coach "The Ultimate Fighter" Season 8 and then fight him for the interim heavyweight title. How was the whole experience? Did you enjoy the coaching?
I enjoyed the coaching experience but didn't appreciate nor agree with the editing. It's a reality show though, and they have to create story lines.
I did get to train, teach and learn from a bunch of great guys including my assistant coaches, Demian Maia and Robert Drysdale. I also met a few idiots though.
[ Q ] What was your mentality going into the fight with Nogueira?
My mentality was positive. I was stronger, faster and had better stand up from working with the best BJJ guys in the world. I was concerned about the type of beating that he could withstand though, and I respect his warrior's heart.
[ Q ] Your fight against Nogueira was your biggest test to date. Did you train any differently for this fight than you have for previous fights?
I trained pretty much the same but added a bit. I used a hypoxic machine from Hypoxico in NYC. Matthew Formato hooked me up and took care of me. I ran sprints which, up until this point, I couldn't do before because of my leg injury.
[ Q ] In that fight you were able to do something no man has ever done before - you stopped Nogueira. Were you shocked?
I wasn't shocked as I envisioned a stoppage or a submission. As a martial artist you want to keep focused and positive but ready to handle and deal with any type of chaos.
Were You Shocked To See Frank Mir Take Down Nogueira?
[ Q ] Was beating Nogueira for the title more exciting than beating Tim Sylvia?
It was. Nogueira has more of a legendary status. No disrespect to Tim, but it's true. Nogueira was a larger foe.
[ Q ] I have heard some rumors that you were on Fight Factor by Nutrabolics before your fight vs. Nogueira. Care to comment?
I used both Fight Factor and Fighter's Food. That stack got me more than ready for competition, not to mention, the Fighter's Food mixes so well and tastes amazing.
Fight Factor by Nutrabolics preps your muscles, your mind, and your energy systems for the highest performance possible. And with only a single dose! [ Click here to learn more. ]
[ Q ] Are there any other specific supplements that you use before a fight?
[ Q ] What do you hope to achieve, now you are signed with Nutrabolics?
I am looking forward to doing signings around the U.S. and Canada and being able to share the knowledge of good supplementation to people that I meet when representing the brand.
[ Q ] With Randy Couture's latest defeat, you're set to fight Brock Lesnar again. Are you happy to get another chance to go up against him? Would you have liked the opportunity to challenge Randy Couture?
I would like to fight both for separate reasons. Legacy. Ability. Heart. Both offer up outstanding challenges that are unique to each.
Click Image To Enlarge. Frank Mir With Rodney & Crew At The Nutrabolic Booth At The 2009 Arnold Classic.
[ Q ] Will you train and prepare differently than your last fight with him?
I will train pretty much the same except we are bringing in some beasts with National Champion backgrounds in wrestling and MMA. The last fight I brought in Tommy Rowlands who is the NCAA D-1 wrestling champ and assistant coach at Ohio State.
My manager Dean Albrecht hooked me up with him. Dean is friends with the owners of Cage Fighter, who are both Ohio State Grads and competed on the wrestling team.
I will have my main sparring partner James Horne in addition to a few other wrestlers. Also, I can almost guarantee that I am the only heavyweight who brings in a 135-pound fighter to train with.
Miguel Torres, who is the 135-pound WEC Champion of the world is a beast with great mental power over the game. He came in for my fight against Nogueira. We train at my gym Striking Unlimited in Vegas.
RELATED VIDEO: Frank Mir Interview
Preparing For UFC 100!
Frank Mir discusses how Nutrabolics supplements have helped transform his body as he prepares for his fight against Brock Lesnar for UFC 100.
[ Q ] What about the strategic aspect of preparing for a fight? Do you put a game plan together for each opponent, or do you go into every fight with roughly the same plan?
I go in prepared and ready to fight no matter what. I am prepared to strike or submit, to wrestle or box. Depending on the opponent there is a higher probability for the fight to end up in one discipline than another, but you must be prepared for both.
[ Q ] You were criticized early in your career for 'being out of shape'. Will we ever see that in Frank Mir again?
I am doing my best to be in shape. I was starting to gas against Wes Sims but what people don't know is that guy has legs that are ten feet long. He put a triangle lock around my mid section which sucks the wind out of you like crazy. And against Ian Freeman I gassed and it cost me the fight.
Dan Christison - I didn't show up in good shape. Being honest with yourself is paramount because it allows you to work on things, areas and weaknesses that need to be improved on.
Click Image To Enlarge. I Am Doing My Best To Be In Shape.
[ Q ] How is training for MMA different than training for bodybuilding?
When I lift for bodybuilding I perform strict and controlled movements compared to when training for MMA. For instance, for bodybuilding I do squats, lunges and leg curls whereas for MMA I do huge jump squats. I strap myself into a machine and jump up and down in it.
[ Q ] What does you daily training regimen consist of?
I train from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. in either striking or grappling and then cardio. I go back in from 4:45 pm until 8 p.m. and work on my technique. Two to three times a week I lift weights and twice a week I do sprints.
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[ Q ] Fedor recently knocked out former UFC champion Andrei Arlovski to push his MMA record to a staggering 29-1. Do you think Fedor is the real deal?
I think he is the real deal but he can be beaten. I would love to have the opportunity to fight Fedor.
Would You Like To See Frank Mir Take On Fedor Emelianenko?
[ Q ] Who has been your toughest competitor so far?
Each competitor presents their own set of challenges. Nogueira has to be the toughest competitor to date but not necessarily the toughest fight. If we truly dig deep into ourselves, the things we can achieve are limitless.
[ Q ] Do you get nervous as a fight approaches?
Absolutely. Nerves are healthy I guess. And it shows that I'm focusing on the task at hand. However, as the fight gets close I get more and more calm.
In fact, when I am in the locker room I'm usually taking a nap or lying down. When I finally set foot in the cage, I reach a state of focused determination that's difficult to articulate. This is the moment I have trained for. This is what I have made sacrifices of time and pain for. This is why I fight.
Click Image To Enlarge. This Is What I Have Made Sacrifices Of Time And Pain For.
[ Q ] You are training out of Striking Unlimited? Tell us about your gym.
We have a good sized gym with a cage, boxing ring, and heavy bags. My Head Coach is Ken Hahn of Striking Unlimited. I strongly recommend you look him up. He gets results and is really easy to work with.
[ Q ] You're currently ranked as #3 Heavyweight Fighter in the World. What will it take for you to get ranked #1?
I will have to beat Brock. And then perhaps Fedor.
FRANK MIR VS BROCK LESNAR
Frank Mir will be taking on Brock Lesnar at UFC 100 on July 7, 2009. Find out more information right here.
[ Q ] If you were not a fighter what would you be?
A lawyer. I like standing up for other people who have a legitimate cause or situation that they are in but cannot defend themselves.
[ Q ] When it's all said and done how do you want to be remembered through out the MMA community?
I want to be remembered as a guy who not only respected the sport but also did his best to share his knowledge like I try to do through my analyst gig with the WEC. I would like to be remembered as a person who tried to be a complete martial artist.
Click Image To Enlarge. I Would Like To Be Remembered As A Person Who Tried To Be A Complete Martial Artist.
I would like to be remembered as a person who showed others through experience and example that they can accomplish things in life they think they could not. I want to be remembered as a fighter who evolved and improved his skills and as a guy who gave back to the sport.