Frank Mir’s win against chiseled Parisian, Cheick Kongo, at UFC 107 last night was impressive, but Frank’s trash talking prior to the fight took more from his win than Kongo’s status as a fighter whose career seems to be on the wane. The post-fight conciliatory gestures did little take away the sour-taste-in-the-mouth following the pre-fight acrimony. It does not matter that Frank’s analysis of Kongo’s talents or lack thereof, was spot on. There is trash talking and then there is trash talking. The fact that the normally reticent Kongo took particular umbrage to it just put an exclamation point to this particular spat. (See how Kongo turned his back to Frank at the weigh-in.) There is a certain unwritten science and art to it as Mir found out in the Brock Lesnar affair.
The unnecessary trash talking against Kongo placed Frank in the unenviable position of being “the jerk” who won; which is an odd position for a man who used to be Mr. Nice. After all the trash talking, there was very little room for the kind of inspirational speech-making he gave after knocking off Big Nog, Antonio Nogueira at UFC 92.
The role of the trash-talking “heel” for Mir is as ill-fitting as a “gi” on Yokozuna. Please note that the trash-talking started around the time Mir’s career had become stagnant. And prior to UFC 107 last night, his mouth was running more than a broken toilet bowl. Coincidence? Perhaps not.
(The fabricated bad blood, such as the ballyhooed one between Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Rashad Evans) is the kind of crap the UFC needs to stay away from lest it begins to manifest hereditary genes of the WWE bloodline. (UFC 107: A better card out of the blue – Cyberaxis)
Standing Caveat: This is not your little brother’s WWE: And it cannot be all light-hearted ribbing when your opponent takes umbrage at your talk and bashes your face in a few more times a la Brock Lesnar or Dan Henderson in the case of the pesky Michael Bisping. The only exception to the rule about trash talking is when you have fighters who choose trash talking as part of their persona. Mir did not start off this way, hence our dismay at this insidious drift which leaves him in no-man’s land because Mir is not an avowed heel.
Those who defend this trend as a way to drum publicity should think of the WWE and the fact that its recessive genes may find bothersome expression in UFC culture.
As for Frank, he in the interim, needs to decide whether his spiel is gonna veer more towards comedy which is pardonable or the-walk-the-talk realism which is permissible only if he can walk the talk. In the months and weeks prior to UFC 100, it veered more towards comedy and the people who were disinclined to cut him some slack forgave him because his life was clearly on the line.
Be that as it may, the trash talking against Lesnar, following Mir’s drubbing at UFC 100, created a monumental PR/image problems for the UFC veteran. There was some justifiable sense, pari passu, that Mir’s merciless drubbing and Lesnar’s over-the-top celebration was Mir’s deserved comeuppance. Yes, there are people who withheld sympathy for Mir because of his taunting of Lesnar.
If Frank wasn’t such an insecure prick, he’d be very likable. He’s very good on the WEC as a analyst, but once you put an opponent in front of him, he becomes a tool. What’s funny is that he seems to fluctuate between the insecure toolishness and genuine goodness that he possesses. During the Countdown show, he said Kongo’s striking was mediocre. Then at the pre-fight presser today, he says that he’s a great striker and that he will look to take the fight to the ground. Very interesting guy, he just needs to realize that he’s a great fighter and doesn’t need to mask his insecurities with cockiness. (Spirona, Reader Comments, Five Ounces of Pain 12/10/09)
Mir should resolve to zip it up at this point and let his fighting do the talking, unless he wants to become “the Lesnar of the mouth” – which is really representative of the failure of inner PR.
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