Frank Mir came off of a two-year hiatus from competition to face Fedor Emelianenko at Bellator 198. By now fans have seen the fight, where Mir was knocked out in 48 seconds by “The Last Emperor,” but Mir recently addressed his own performance on his podcast, “Phone Booth Fighting,” when he caught up with co-host Richard Hunter after the event.
In analyzing why he did not perform as well as he might have, Mir credits some ring rust and confusion about the rules. Mir also admits to error on his part, in that he became too aggressive after being thrown by Emelianenko.
“It kind of hurt my ego,” said Mir about being taken down. He went on to say that it put him into “streetfighter mode.”
Mir attributes his lack of composure to the two-year layoff; while training got him into shape and physically ready for Bellator 198, a high-stakes matchup with a fellow legend may have been too big a comeback after being out for so long.
“It’s been two years since I’ve competed seriously and my composure is not what it should have been,” said Mir. “Once I got into a fire-fight I just got emotional instead of staying strategic.”
It may not have all been ring rust; Mir said there was confusion on the rule set being implemented for the event, which caused some hesitation on his part when he had Emelianenko hurt early in the fight. Mir had been under the impression that Illinois was not using the new Unified Rules for mixed martial arts, which stipulate that a downed opponent can be struck to the head if one hand is down on the mat. However, he claims he was told the opposite on the night of the fight. So, when the opportunity came for Mir after he hurt the former Pride Fighting Championship champion, he admits he hesitated on whether or not he could strike Emelianenko when his hand was down. One thing that can be taken from Mir’s comments is how many things can go through a fighter’s mind in moments that seem so short to the fans watching, illustrating how time can slow down for the ones in the cage.
Confusion and injured ego aside, Mir respects the skill level of Emelianenko and states that if the loss has given him anything, it is a desire to compete further. Mir is looking to get back into action with Absolute Championship Berkut, for whom he has provided English-language color commentary since 2016, and possibly return for another fight with Bellator in the fall, as his contract allows him to compete elsewhere with what he termed “Bellator’s blessing.”
Chael Sonnen, who was working as a desk analyst for Bellator on the night of the fight and who now faces Emelianenko in the next round, thought Mir fought well, and is someone who can relate to losing his first fight back from time off. When Sonnen lost to Tito Ortiz at Bellator 170 after over three years out of competition, he said, “The first one back doesn’t count.” Sonnen then won his next two fights. Maybe Mir can do the same.
Edward Carbajal serves as the lead MMA analyst for Frontproof Media and holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and a brown belt in Ishin Ryu Karate. He has covered combat sports since 2014 and has been a fan of MMA since UFC 1. You can follow him on Twitter @Carbazel or at his website TheBlogBoardJungle.com.