UFC Strips Mir of Heavyweight Belt, Arlovski New Champion

By Sherdog.com Staff Aug 13, 2005
Out of action since suffering serious injuries during a September 2004 motorcycle accident, Las Vegan Frank Mir (Pictures) was stripped of his UFC heavyweight belt, according to a statement from UFC president Dana White, released late Friday on UFC.tv. Interim titleholder Andrei Arlovski (Pictures) was named the new UFC heavyweight champion.

“Zuffa, LLC is pleased to announce Andrei Arlovski (Pictures) has been named the new UFC® heavyweight champion," began White's statement. "Andrei will fight Paul Buentello (Pictures) as the main event for the upcoming UFC 55: FURY event Friday, October 7, 2005 at the Mohegan Sun Arena. We congratulate Andrei and look forward to his first championship defense bout. We also extend our admiration and respect to our former heavyweight champion Frank Mir (Pictures) who is still rehabilitating himself from the injuries he sustained in a motorcycle accident in September 2004. We are hopeful that Frank will eventually recover from those injuries and look forward to the day he is medically cleared to return to the Octagon.”

This news makes Mir the third UFC heavyweight champion to have lost the belt outside the Octagon during the Zuffa era. Josh Barnett (Pictures) was stripped by Zuffa after testing positive for steroids in 2002. And Tim Sylvia (Pictures), who also tested positive for steroids, relinquished his belt following his first defense against Gan McGee (Pictures) in November 2003. Contract disputes led to Randy Couture (Pictures) losing his UFC heavyweight belt during SEG's ownership of the UFC.
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