Sylvia's Break is Mir's Fortune; Shamrock KO's Kimo

Frank Mir vs Tim Sylvia

By Josh Gross Jun 19, 2004
Frank Mir vs Tim Sylvia
LAS VEGAS, June 19 -- The closest man to the action saw what happened. Truth be told, he heard it too. With 253-pound Frank Mir applying as much pressure as he could to six-foot-eight Tim Sylvia's gangly right arm, it shouldn't have been such a surprise. Yet when referee Herb Dean jumped between Mir and Sylvia just 50 seconds after their UFC heavyweight championship contest commenced Saturday night, a cascade of boos showered down from the 10,000-plus fans inside the Mandalay Bay Events Center.

Moments later, when the six big screens throughout the arena simultaneously aired a Sylvia' forearm move in a way it wasn't designed to do, the "boos" turned into "oohs." And with that, Dean was vindicated, Frank Mir (8-1-0) was the proud owner of a new belt, and Tim Sylvia (18-1-0) was on his way to a local Las Vegas hospital with two broken bones following the first loss of his career.

As action began, Sylvia, fighting for the belt he vacated after being suspended for having illegal anabolic agents in his system after a knockout victory of Gan McGee September 2003, looked to counter. He answered Mir's low kicks and punches with one-two combos, looking primarily for that fight-ending big-straight-right.

Sylvia moved forward into Mir, nearly picking him up with the force of a punch. The smaller fighter held on and the action moved to the ground, where the Las Vegas-born Mir immediately worked for one of Sylvia's out-stretched arms.

Fittingly, he found the same appendage that Sylvia intended to bury into his face. Though it wasn't sunk deep, the 25-year-old Mir arched his hips, which forced Sylvia to his left to relieve the pressure. Mir, who next to PRIDE heavyweight champion Rodrigo Nogueira is the most dangerous heavyweight in the world when it comes to submissions, kept at it.

Then Dean saw what no one else did.

"I saw the arm bow at the forearm, which is kind of a dangerous place for it to bow," Dean said afterwards. "Not at the elbow, but below the elbow. I actually heard it snap.

"It was a strange sound, like maybe somebody ripping some tape or something. It was a very high-pitched sound."

Though Sylvia showed no obvious sign -- except the snapped forearm -- he was injured, Dean moved in to stop the bout.

"I wanted to see if he was going to tap as I moved in," the referee recalled, "but he wasn't tapping, so I hesitated a sec. But I decided whether or not he tapped, I'd stop the fight."

It's a good thing for Sylvia that Dean stepped in when he did. The damage from Mir's armbar was severe, and as a result Sylvia was forced into surgery to repair a limb that had been snapped near the middle of his right forearm.
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