The Trouble With Frank Mir: Divergent Ways of Dealing with Post-fight Trauma

Frank Mir was a certifiable trash talker until yesterday. With the ” I want to break (Lesnar’s) neck in the ring. I want him to be the first person that dies due to octagon-related injuries” Frank Mir crossed a line that could make for an anecdotal case for having one’s head examined.

“A lot of individuals are so worried about being politically correct,” Mir said in a radio interview. “I’d rather go ahead and say what’s on my mind than to sit there and come up with some PC ‘Oh, the guy is a great fighter and I have a lot of respect for him.’ If I don’t mean it, why is it even coming out of my mouth?”

“I want to fight Lesnar. I hate who he is as a person. I want to break his neck in the ring. I want him to be the first person that dies due to Octagon-related injuries. That’s what’s going through my mind.” (Frank Mir with Mark Madden, Radio Interview)

That Frank’s remark was highly impolitic, regardless of what other purpoted trash-talkers have said in the past,  goes without saying – which is why the UFC came down hard on him (More on this later on.) The public significance of that is now moot. Frank has apologized, but not before  being publicly lambasted as a “(bleeping) idiot” by Dana White. These are sensitive times:

“Mir is a [expletive] idiot! I have never heard something so unprofessional and idiotic in my life,” (Dana White with Carmichael Dave of KHTK,  Sacramento, CA)

The remark was out of line – even when you listen to it in the context of the interview Mir had with Madden:

What does it say about Frank’s frame of mind? His touch or lack thereof with the bounds of propriety in time-space and circumstance?   To examine this from a different perspective, we would like to suggest two different ways in which two UFC fighters in recent memory have dealt with the challenge or trauma of losing, namely Frank Mir and Rashad Evans.

Frank Mir

Frank Mir stranded on a head trip? A study in contrasts

Rashad Evans

Rashad Evans: Grounded in victory and defeat? You be the judge.

Legend: The story of Rashad Evans is very instructive of how fighters can handle a traumatic loss, because this is a guy who went into virtual hibernation after the shock and awe of his loss to Lyoto Machida in UFC 98. Evans who should never have given into the temptation of playing the cocky-punk-ass  because he doesn’t play a very convincing heel to begin with, had the extra feelings of embarrassment to deal with. His post-hibernation interview posted on Youtube is a riveting study in humility and soul searching. True, Evans’ drubbing was not crowned with eggregious ridicule and unsportmanlike showboating, but his unstinting inner focus is very instructive of a man who had reconnected with his inner man and responsibilities, regardless of what had happened to him. To say that Frank Mir could not have  found this inner focus, especially after Lesnar’s unsportsmanlike demonstrations,  is to absolve him of personal responsibility in a way that belittles  him as a man.

We do have a theory though: Frank found it hard to recover mentally or emotionally because by the time the fight rolled along, he had already invested  too much in the mental and emotional bet of trash talking – and that the trash talking may just have been motivated by his own fears of what Lesnar would do to him. Remember that Frank had tussled with Lesnar at UFC 81 and had a pretty good idea of the kind of power Lesnar had. Fighters have a special place for these kinds of memories.

Whichever way one analyzes this, it is clear that Frank never really recovered from the gambit he committed himself to after UFC 81. Our theory would more than explain why someone who had won that fight would resort to over-the-top  trash talking as the next fight approached.  The champion/interim champion issue doesn’t explain the ensuing back-and-forth that ended up with quite a bit of ill-feeling as UFC 100 would show.

Case closed? Hardly. We are just clearing our throats.  Come back in about 24 hours for the fleshing out of this theme. This latest outburst by Frank Mir shows that he is not reliably in touch with the bounds of propriety. This greatly diminishes his status within the MMA community. This is baggage Frank does not need. Beyond his a need to handle his octagon demons better, he is faced with the nearly insurmountable task of winning back the fan goodwill that was his for the taking prior  to UFC 81.

Coming up in this article:

  • What the heck was wrong with Mir’s statement and why he doesn’t seem to be getting it. See Ben Fowlkes article under “Appendices.”
  • Like Lesnar before him, he has frittered away his P.R. advantage – and for what?

copyright© 2009


Frank Mir needs to learn to keep his mouth shut (Cyberaxis)

Mir can’t understand backlash to provocative Lesnar comments (Ben Fowlkes, Inside MMA)

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