Frank Mir brings to his fights a lackadaisical swagger he should check in at the door before entering the octagon – an ungrounded sangfroid that was on full display at UFC 111 in New Jersey tonight before Shane Carwin unloaded on him in a stand-up clinch against the cage. Shane’s short upper-cut bombs found their mark and Mir’s knees buckled from underneath him before Carwin finished him on the ground: a flipped up version of what happened to him as he lay wedged between Lesnar and the cold octagon cage at UFC 100.
“What was up with (Frank) allowing Carwin to turn him up against the cage with the resistance of a ballerina, which set up his demise?” (Greg Alario, Reader Commentator, Bleacher Report)
This end was predictable. We at Cyberaxis called it yesterday afternoon here: ( http://cyberaxis.wordpress.com/2010/03/26/frank-mirs-other-moment-of-truth-karmic-denouement-at-ufc-111/ ) but in reality it unfolded in a manner that was kind of sad. It’s a human thing. It is a human thing to feel pathos when delusional trips, like the one Frank Mir was on, come to a sudden and unscheduled end. There is a corollary to all of this: the drama going on inside Frank Mir’s head may be more intense than what went on in the octagon tonight – and that’s saying a lot because you could cut the suspense with a knife. The stands were crackling with the electricity of this showdown. Google UFC 111 Shane Carwin vs Frank Mir video for a taste.
Play By Play Summary (The Short Version)
The men touch gloves at about 10.30 EST and within seconds the fight is on – well, in a manner of speaking.
There is an over-extended sizing up period during which both fighters circle and size each other up in between fakes and feints. This goes on for about 36 seconds until Mir commits and throws a punch at Carwin. Soon the two clinch in a standup position. They step to the edge of the octagon with Frank’s back against the cage. Carwin goes to work kneeing Frank’s left thigh and throwing short punches to the head whenever he can entangle himself from Frank. Frank appears as relaxed as he was beneath Lesnar at UFC 100 before canned hamhocks Lesnar calls fists started landing on Mir’s face. With the attack momentum flagging, the referee separates the two fighters at 2:10. The fight is reset.
Frank cooly steps back in with a bit of a swagger. Carwin throws a brief combo and soon after Mir answers with a combination that should have rocked Carwin had Mir had enough power behind it or Carwin the proverbial glass jaw. Carwin calculatedly clinches and the action again moves to the edge of the octagon with Mir’s back to the cage like de ja vu all over again. In workmanlike fashion Carwin gets back to work with the short slip-in punches looking for Mir’s head underneath the coils and coils of arms. One of the punches, a left hook, soon finds Frank’s orbital. The impact opens Frank up for the short upper-cut bombs that Carwin unloads on the inside like a technotronic mannequin. Mir’s knees buckle and Carwin follows him to the ground, pummeling him mercilessly on the side of the head until he goes limp. Carwin throws four more left blows to the head with the referee looking on before stopping the fight at 3:49. End of story. Or is it?
The corollary of this story as in all fights is the aftermath, namely: how does Frank regain his mental, emotional and career equilibrium after such a devastating drubbing – devastating in that he had oversold himself by talking up a storm and taking positions that put him at a gross P.R. disadvantage going into the dreamed about match-up with Brock Lesnar. Re-read our take on this here and here.
We are not hatin’ on Frank because we were the first to sing his praises when Brock first broke on the scene like a Trog. However we soon realized that homeboy Frankie had a problem to match, and it was related to more than just loose lips that sank ships. Homeboy had an ego that was as out of touch with his reality as it was with the reality of other fighter – their comparative skill set. And that lack of grounding led to all kinds of problems like the loss of perspective and commonsense as demonstrated in the Lesnar death comments brouhaha. The obsessive nature of his preoccupation with Lesnar and the way he talked about it raised more than eyebrows in some quarters. UFC for example, made him apologize for his death-from-octagon-related-injuries remark. It is reportedly still a sore point with Dana White and the UFC.
Frank Mir’s apparent inability to assess his own skill set against those of other dangerous opponents may perhaps be his biggest Achilles heel.
My stand up has been just steamrolling, better and better every fight. I boxed with Nogueira for seven minutes and Nogueira… I made him look silly. I caught Cheick Kongo, who is probably the best striker we have in the UFC, and I put him out in about a minute. I’m 265 lbs. now, and I’m quick and I’m skilled. (Frank Mir)
Contrast his disparagement of Lesnar’s strengths against Couture’s healthy respect of the mountain of a man who knocked him down and out with a glancing blow to the old temple. Up to this day, Couture maintains that Lesnar is a lot of man to stand in front of for most fighters. And he says it without a shred of resentment or envy: just matter of fact and you move on.
It takes a level of maturity and detachment to make such assessments without attaching one’s essential self-worth to such valuations. For size, they are the same valuations people have to make about their own abilities versus that of others and the various identities and fictions we all have to masquerade under in this larger game called life. Some strike a healthy balance with it, others don’t with varying results, part of which we are witnessing with the unraveling of Mir’s fictions.
As a matter of fact there was a flash of recognition last night as we watched Mir make the long procession from the locker room to the octagon with this inscrutable zoned-out expression on his face. What or who was this? A lifetime of images, quips and sound-clips played themselves out in that extended minute and bingo we had a hit as to who Frank Mir was. It was as mildly disconcerting as it was illuminative.
The Workman vs The Loquacious Schmoozer: Typologically, the two fighters couldn’t have been more different. Carwin the blue collar goombah who is as grounded as the Colorado Rockies versus the Las Vegas schmoozer who sounds believable until you actually look at the bill of goods he is selling. Frank Mir is a passer, who over-leverages appearances to sell people on more than he has in terms of common sense and actual skill or ability. He is given to unapportioned excess and irrationality beneath a social patina that is initially sanguine and engaging - a persona that would dispose people to like him at first blush. Remember the “Mr. Nice” moniker we originally gave him? That was no accident.
Biographically, Frank Mir is a BJJ practitioner who became champion in a relatively young UFC without a certifiable standup game. (Remember the Gracies.) When he came around to filling in that stand-up hole, he came up short in terms of a natural or well seasoned chops and lack of solid power and strength. So when crunch time came, he fell short against natural born brutes like Lesnar or Carwin …. well, in a manner of speaking.
But to be fair to Mir, nobody knows what he could have become had not had to deal the effects of that horrific motorcycle accident – physically and emotionally. That is the large asterisk and unknown that nobody can erase from Mir’s bio. Be that as it may, we now know that he came short in terms of stand-up and brute strength when he needed it. The other thing we know is that adding bulk did not automatically translate into certifiable power, the knockout of Nogueira or Kongo notwithstanding. That strength to dictate when and where the fight took place was woefully missing in the fight against Carwin tonight. On top of that, Mir appeared as zoned out before and during the fight as was the case in UFC 100. With the exception of one brief burst of striking brilliance, a combination at about the 2:40 mark, Mir appeared content to rope-a-dope with Carwin without any strategic explosiveness to change postures or positions. Well, if there was a lesson last night, it was that you don’t rope-a-dope with certified muggers like Carwin – especially ones with canned hams bigger than Lesnar’s and an even better knockout record from the standing position.
If he faces Junior Dos Santos, as some people are saying and gets blasted out of the water as he is bound to, I see Frank retiring. Yes, he would if he lost the next fight – but he would come back like Quinton Jackson – inspired by the soundtrack of Rocky I and II. Why retire? Well, he would really (unbeknownst to him) need the mindspace to untangle himself from the mental/P.R. mess he has created with his loose lips and ungrounded trash talk.
Remember, you heard this prediction on Cyberaxis first. And don’t be surprised if he did “retire” before his next fight either. The only problem with that would be that the “retirement” would be even less believable.
copyright© 2009 cyberaxis.wordpress.com
Frank Mir comments on his loss to Shane Carwin and possible future fights ( Edmonton, Canada – MMACanada.Net)
UFC 111′s Mir says Carwin more dangerous than Lesnar, OK if Velasquez gets first crack (John Morgan, MMA Junkie)
Mir changes his tune, says third Lesnar fight not that important (Steve Cofield, Yahoo Cagewriter)
Mir brings full arsenal to Lesnar fight (Kevin Iole, Yahoo! Sports)
Part-time fighter Carwin making it look easy (Kevin Iole, Yahoo Sports)