Frank Mir is a giant in the mixed
martial arts world, literally as well as image wise. Standing around 6ft 3in
and weighing over 240lbs, he is a colossus in the Ultimate Fighting
Championship having been two-time heavyweight champ.
A UFC veteran at 31, Mir is looking
to be champ for a third time and is training intensely for his next bout,
against the dangerous Croatian Mirko ‘Cro Cop’ Filipovic, in Indianapolis on 25
After that Mir will chill for a
while and part of his recreational plans are to come to Grand Cayman with his
family for two seminars on 16 October and to greet fans at the Hard Rock Cafe
here on the same day. It is all being organised by karate instructor Bob Daigle
who has spent the last two months in the US networking like crazy with the
mixed martial arts fraternity with the intention of raising MMA standards here
and putting on a show in May.
Daigle brought over UFC star Kenny
Florian and boxing coach Peter Welch in June which went well. Mir’s visit is
even more exciting. Master Steve Graham, president of the Cayman Islands Taekwondo
Association, said: “People here are all excited about Mir’s visit. I’m looking
forward to seeing his Muay Thai and Brazilian jiujitsu skills and can’t wait to
meet him up close and personal. He’s only 31, still at the forefront of the
sport, in peak physical condition and it will be nice to get his perspective on
the whole MMA scene.”
The marque sponsor for Mir’s trip
is Cayman Airways and other sponsors besides the Hard Rock Cafe are Bud light,
Red Bull, Pure Health and FAST Defense.
Francisco Santos Mir III was born
on 24 May 1979, in Las Vegas. His parents were martial arts practitioners so it
was inevitable that he would follow suit. His father owned a Kenpo karate
school in Las Vegas, which is where his initial martial arts training started.
Mir achieved a black belt in Kenpo as a teenager.
Mir’s father convinced him to begin
wrestling in high school after seeing how easily strikers were taken down in
the initial UFC tournaments. Though Mir lost his first seven wrestling matches,
he did eventually win a state championship in 1998 before training in Brazilian
jiujitsu and received his black belt in 2004.
Mir’s MMA debut was in 2001 when he
defeated Jerome Smith by unanimous decision. He defeated his next three
opponents by way of submission, including Pete Williams at UFC 36 by shoulder
lock. His victory over Williams made it clear that the former Kenpo
practitioner was now one of the world’s most dangerous submission fighters.
He was considered the future of the
UFC heavyweight division back in 2002. So when he took on England’s Ian Freeman
at UFC 38, most believed that another submission victory was a foregone
conclusion. But upsets in this sport happen all the time. He lost on first
round TKO after his conditioning let him down. Mir’s performance caused
speculation about his cardio and drive to succeed. Regardless, he picked up his
winning ways after the Freeman encounter.
Mir finally got the chance to prove
that he was championship worthy at UFC 48 two years later. It only took 50
seconds for him to catch in an armbar the 6ft 8in Tim Sylvia in a UFC
Heavyweight Championship bout. Sylvia proved his toughness by refusing to tap
out. Unfortunately for him, that resulted in a rather gruesome broken arm on
Frank was lining up a clash with
formidable MMA heavyweight Andrei Arlovski, but it did not materialise because
Mir was knocked off his motorbike by a car, causing a broken leg and the
tearing of all the ligaments in his knee. When he was unable to defend his
title a year later, the UFC offered Arlovski his heavyweight championship.
Mir was not the same fighter when
he came back from injury against Brazilian jiujitsu black belt Marcio Cruz in
2006, at UFC 57. In fact, despite being known for his outstanding ground
skills, he was easily defeated by TKO on the canvas in the first round.
Following that, were two more subpar efforts. This had many wondering if Mir
could ever regain his old form.
But then came three straight
victories against Antoni Hardonk, Brock Lesnar, and UFC Interim Heavyweight
Champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. Frank Mir was clearly back.
He possesses solid wrestling and
striking skills. However, his Brazilian jiujitsu prowess is his forte. Along
with this, Mir has one of the best guards of any heavyweight in MMA history. On
top of his ability to put opponents in armbars and leglocks is the fact that
he’s an extremely big and strong heavyweight. Consensus is that once you get
caught by Mir it’s all over. He’s just too strong to power out of his attempts
and too good to use technique to escape. A devoted family man, Mir and wife
Jennifer have three children together.
Such is the high level of
competition in the UFC that Mir’s recent record has been patchy although he
remains one of the world’s most formidable big men. He lost by two round KO to
Lesnar for the heavyweight title last year, beat Cheick Kongo in a round in his
next fight but lost in an interim championship bout to Shane Carwin in March.
Things won’t get any easier against Cro Cop who has championship aspirations
too. One thing is certain though; this fight, like all Mir bouts, will not be
* For more information about future
seminars and Mir’s visit, contact Bob Daigle at [email protected]