Mailbag: Mir still raising ire
Frank Mir’s comments about Brock Lesnar in my column last week raised the ire of many fans of mixed martial arts. And the fans are still debating Season 8 of “The Ultimate Fighter.”
I’ll answer questions on those topics and many more in this week’s edition of the MMA mailbag. My answers, as always, are in italics.
Ragging on Big Frank’s comments
In your column on Frank Mir, he said, “Anybody could go out and win a fight, which we’ve seen with (Brock) Lesnar (stopping) Randy Couture. One lucky punch and it’s your night. That doesn’t mean you’ve deserved it. That doesn’t mean you’ve put in the hard work and earned it. Win or lose, you earn it outside the ring.” One lucky punch? Hasn’t put in the hard work? Sounds like Mir’s sour grapes that Lesnar got to fight Couture instead of him. If Mir can beat Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira on Saturday at UFC 92 (and now I hope he does), this is great bulletin-board material for Lesnar. If he loses to Nogueira, how many fights do you think are between Mir and another shot at Lesnar? It seems to me that if Big Nog were to beat Lesnar, that would be a logical next match for both of them.
My reaction to Frank’s comments is that he was angry that Lesnar came into the UFC and immediately was fighting top-level guys. Mir is a traditionalist and felt Lesnar should have had to beat other aspiring heavyweights such as Cain Velasquez and Shane Carwin, whom he mentioned later in the column. I understand the point he was making, but I give Lesnar a lot of credit for improving to the point that he was able to land a so-called lucky punch against a legend like Couture. If the fight had gone on, Couture may indeed have won, but he’s a Hall of Famer and one of the greatest heavyweights of all time, and Lesnar was fighting him on even terms in his fourth pro fight.
I think Frank Mir’s thoughts about victory coming from what you do outside the ring are the wisest I’ve heard from a fighter. Everybody loses eventually in this sport. He’s overcome a lot and now is facing the best. If he’s done the absolute best he can to prepare for the Nog fight, he can do no more, but then he had to go and say Brock beat Randy with “one lucky punch.” Ugh.
Mir is a man who speaks his mind, but his words didn’t sit well with many fans. See below.
Mir seems like a jerk
Mir just seems like a jerk with the disrespect toward Lesnar. We all know Brock hasn’t fought enough to be a legend, as Mir states, but I watched the fight he had with Lesnar and he [was] lucky [that] Brock was new to mixed martial arts. The guys at my house all saw the fear in Mir’s eyes, and he knows he got lucky Brock left his leg exposed. What Mir needs to remember is the only way he got that leg is because his ass was on the mat trying to curl in the fetal position for the beatdown he was getting. And really, what has he done or who has he beaten for him to disrespect anyone? Bet he will never give Lesnar a rematch. Mir’s just a punk.
I think you’re wrong on all counts, Michael. Mir is no jerk, and he’s earned his place in the sport. He’s a former champion and one of the best big men on the ground in the sport. He showed great intestinal fortitude coming back from the severe injuries he suffered in a 2004 traffic accident. Many fighters would have retired rather than persevere the way Mir did. I didn’t care for his comments, but I understood the context. Mir is obligated to give Lesnar a rematch if he defeats Nogueira on Saturday, so Lesnar will have his opportunity to prove Mir wrong.
Plans for Nover
I was really disappointed that Phillipe Nover was beaten by Efrain Escudero on Dec. 13 in “The Ultimate Fighter” lightweight finale. Nover is of Filipino descent and, as everybody knows, we are very proud of our countrymen, especially our fighters. Do you think he will still have a chance to fight in the UFC? I think he will. If Dana White really wants to put a show in the Philippines, the more Filipino fighters he has the better. Right?
I do believe the UFC will use Nover, who showed a lot of skills during the season. And given their interest in promoting in the Philippines, he’s a natural. You can bet on Nover and Brandon Vera being on the first card in the Philippines, which is definitely going to occur. The only issue is when.
Torres for Fighter of the Year
Of all the great fighters who shined in 2008, you picked Thiago Alves as the Fighter of the Year. Though Thiago is one of the fighters I look forward to watching in 2009, he
didn’t even make weight against Matt Hughes. In my opinion, that is a big no-no. I’m still shocked that you and Dave Meltzer didn’t mention Miguel Angel Torres. I think all MMA purists should pick him as the top fighter of 2008. He had three victories in 2008 and all of them came in dramatic fashion. Plus, Miguel has put the bantamweight class on the map, the same way Urijah Faber has done with the featherweight class. So what gives?
Holly Springs, N.C.
Travis, I wouldn’t argue if Torres won Fighter of the Year – he had several quality wins. But I don’t think there was a real clear-cut choice, and when you look at the quality opponents Alves beat, he looks pretty good. This is a guy who stopped Karo Parisyan and Matt Hughes and beat Josh Koscheck. That’s a pretty solid group.
Penn-St. Pierre pick
Who do you think is going to win the B.J. Penn-Georges St. Pierre welterweight title fight at UFC 94 on Jan. 31? The odds right now favor Georges, but I just don’t get it. A motivated B.J. Penn is the best fighter in the world, and he has been begging UFC president Dana White for this fight for a few years. Also, when (if ever) do you see the UFC coming to Portland, Ore.? I am shocked Dana has yet to bring the sport here.
It’s a very tough fight to call, but I’ll lean to Penn at this point. I reserve the right to change my mind, but I think Penn will come up with a plan to pull it off. Both are greatly improved from when they fought at UFC 58 in 2006. As for the UFC going to Portland, my guess is it will happen in the second half of 2009, but there are a lot of variables.
More thoughts on TUF
I know you addressed your “The Ultimate Fighter” column in last week’s mailbag, but I’d like to add my two cents. TUF can save itself. TUF is revolutionary, but not for the reasons most people focus on: It features fights with no commentary and no crowd noise. I’ve learned more watching TUF fights than by watching any other MMA documentary – not just because I can hear things I wouldn’t hear otherwise, like the corners, but because it’s the only time I get to experience the intensity of the fights without extra production to pump me up. Most importantly, I’ve learned to watch for everything that’s exciting in the sport, not just to watch out of bloodlust, based on the excitement of the all-fighter audience. The house is an important part of the show, because although it’s artificial, part of the learning experience of TUF is to see how fighters live outside of the ring (how they eat, meditate, etc.). Sadly, this is the one part of the show where the UFC abandons the “all-natural” formula of its fights. The solution is to give us more actual fight workouts. They should show more nutritional science, a full ju-jitsu lesson and show the fighters watching their pre-TUF fights with their coaches and peers. They should spend more time with the fighters, both pre- and post-fight. This stuff is interesting. And yes, if a fighter loses it due to stress (emotional breakdown, can’t make weight, etc.) then do show that drama. Fighting is a ridiculously difficult business. These guys are like finely tuned sports cars. Wouldn’t it be interesting to learn how they get that way?
You make some good points, but would non-MMA fans be interested in that? They have to balance two diverse audiences. They must satisfy the serious fans who are into the action and want to see as much of the fights and the training sessions as possible. But the show also is designed to develop new fans, and there has to be a hook to get those folks interested in something they’re not at the current time. I think Spike and the UFC do an overall good job with it, but they’ve let it get far too tasteless the past few years. All I want to see them do is to clean things up a bit.
“The Ultimate Fighter” should be viewed by the fighters as a 24-hour job interview. They are being looked at by the UFC to see if these are guys able to handle themselves if they
become famous, in addition to whether they are solid fighters. They are grown men who should be allowed to drink if they want, but it is up to them to act properly. The UFC is not here to babysit, but to find good fighters and put on a compelling show. Get off your high horse.
West Des Moines, Iowa
You’re right, Ryan, but the problem is, there are families who want to watch the show together. And if a parent sees an episode where someone is urinating in the food or worse, all that does is make them turn the show off. It doesn’t require a major tweak to fix what’s gone wrong here.
Junie is a showman
I have followed Junie Browning since his first amateur fight, and I have to tell you that what he does, he honestly does to try to be entertaining. The first time I saw him fight (he went by his middle name, Allen, back then) he wore a pink Speedo and came out to the cage to the song “Do You Want to Hurt Me?” He has always played the part of the villain, but in person he is always a nice guy to talk to. If he inspires you to hate or dislike him, he is just doing a good job. His brother, Rob, might be a better fighter, but he is a little small. He fought at 135, and dominated the local competition. Junie was not dominant back then. The Browning brothers are great guys and great showmen.
Clearly, Junie was trying to make a name for himself, which is fine. But throwing a glass at another fighter can’t be tolerated. Jumping into the cage and trying to start a fight after two other fighters have finished can’t be tolerated. Throwing (or at least trying to throw) another fighter into the pool and attempting to fight with him can’t be tolerated. Browning crossed the line of acceptable behavior and should not have been allowed to stay on the show. And he shouldn’t have been rewarded with a place on the main card of the finale.
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