Bellator 231: Frank Mir discusses Roy Nelson fight, his legacy, and honesty

As he prepares for a rematch fight against Roy “Big Country” Nelson at Bellator 231, Frank Mir is in full-honesty mode. Speaking at Bellator 231 media day, Mir opened up about his fight against Nelson, why he didn’t want it, his legacy as both a father and a fighter, and why being honest with himself and those around him is most important to him.

Currently on the biggest skid of his career with a four-fight losing streak, Mir spoke with about the fight against Nelson, a fight that he didn’t want, but why he wants to test himself against one of the toughest opponents to submit in an effort to cement his legacy even further.

“Honestly, nothing intrigued me about this fight [against Roy Nelson]. I think I was very vocal about that I actually tried not to have this fight. I’m really trying to go to my roots and be a submission artist. I think I did what everybody does which is a good thing, I came out the gate early in my career almost 20 years ago as a great submission artist and then I really developed in striking, and I’ve had some great knockouts, hell I knocked out Mirko Cro Cop on my feet, Cheick Kongo who is the Number 1 contender, I dropped with a punch before choking him out. So I’ve shown evolution, but now it’s getting back to what I have better aptitude for and doing the submissions.”

While Mir was vocal in saying he didn’t want the fight against Nelson, he also recognized that if he is able to get a submission victory, the reward is that much greater because despite facing some of the greatest submission artists in MMA history, Nelson has yet to be submitted, and Mir has the chance to be the first to do so.

“Having Roy be the first one on the list is going to be difficult because I’ve trained with Roy and Roy’s fought the four best submission artists in the heavyweight division: Myself, (Antonio Rodrigo) Nogueira, Josh Barnett, and (Fabricio) Werdum. Those are the four kings of submissions in my division, no one’s even gotten close to submission on this asshole, he’s hard to submit. So it’s really going to be difficult to be that one, but then the prize is that much higher if I am the one that can finish him. One more nail in the coffin to solidify my moniker as the greatest submission artist that the heavyweight division has ever had.”

Inside the cage, Frank Mir wants to be known as the greatest submission artist in the history of the heavyweight division, but outside the cage, Mir  wants to set an example for his family, an example that will carry his life legacy with far more significance to his family than just his fighting legacy.

“To be an example. Sometimes that can stress people out because they think that means you have to toe the line the whole time and really it means be honest. Because there are times I have failures, and I do fail, and I’ll continue to fail. But to be honest with those failures, to face them, you know, and to be okay with explaining why I fu**ed up, why I did this, why I did that, so then I’m still being a good example.

You know like well, I shouldn’t have eaten this, or maybe I should’ve hired this guy to do this, this is why I didn’t, I was afraid of going out and working out too hard. You know, that’s the bad maybe, I didn’t want to do it. Because I didn’t want to do it, I took an easier path or whatever the case may be for that failure. Then my kids can look at it and learn from my example.”

Whether it’s in fighting or in every day life, Mir knows his decisions will always be an example to his children, and while he admits he used to only focus on his children, he recently joined up with Justin Wren’s Fight For the Forgotten Foundation because it sets an even better example to his children to help others.

“Watching what Justin Wren was doing, it made me a little bit feel bad about myself. I’m like ‘wow’ you know? I am very much of a family fan. I don’t think even my greatest detractors can say otherwise but I’m a little bit too much of a family man where it’s like, well if you’re not my family, freeze and die right? My children before anybody else and I realized when I was like ‘Why am I feeling bad about myself watching Wren out there giving up his life, you know, and some of the comfort of first world culture to go live in a third-world area and help out?’ Because I know it’s the right thing to do and I don’t like that I don’t do those things.

So I was honest with myself and realized that yeah, I’m a family man and my kids come first, but there be a second, third, and fourth, it doesn’t have to be one and only. So if I could be a voice and lend any kind of attention so the rest of the world can see what Justin’s doing then I’m on board. Especially with the bullying aspects that he sometimes deals with because I really  honestly feel like that’s an area of our culture that’s really misunderstood.”

Former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir signs with Bellator MMA
Mar 20, 2016; Brisbane, Australia; Frank Mir (blue gloves) looks on before his bout with Mark Hunt (not pictured) during UFC Fight Night at Brisbane Entertainment Centre. Mandatory Credit: Matt Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

In a society where things on social media, for better or worse, create a lot of the conversations that are being had, Mir openly discussed his mindset on bullying and other hot topics in society, showing he won’t shy away from being honest about his feelings.

“Our first knee jerk response to anything as humans is to destroy it. So we go ‘aw there’s bullies in the world, we’ll get rid of them’ Oh, wait a minute you know, we’re bullies too. If there’s somebody you made fun of at some time during grade school or high school, you were that guy’s bully. And bullying isn’t necessarily all bad either. There can be some of it that’s good.

I mean think about  it, when I go to the gym and train, I’m going against adversity, my training partners are trying to punch me in the face, that makes me a better person. I mean language doesn’t kill you right? It makes you stronger but then it’s about a balance and what’s acceptable and then the acceptable responses to it.”

Whether or not his views on hot topics in 2019 are acceptable to many or not, Frank Mir won’t shy away from his feelings on those topics, and that honesty is a trait he feels he needs to share to be the example of who he is, even if it upsets others, despite the complicity of the topics.

“I think that [bullying] is a very complicated topic and everybody wants to go zero violence and schools, zero tolerance. I’m all like that’s not the answer too, guys, it’s not, it really isn’t. But having honest conversations with people and not being afraid of well ‘I can’t believe you said that, we’re going to yank your Twitter account’, you know right now we have so many people that are social justice warriors that don’t allow people to speak. It’s like look, talking about something is not doing it. Just like if I have a racial conversation, doesn’t mean I’m a racist, but God forbid I start talking about different economical impacts on different cultures, people are like ‘you really have to toe the line’.

I don’t believe, and I can piss people off with this one, if you were born a man, you should never be allowed able to compete against women in a women’s competition. I don’t care what surgery you get, what hormones you pump in your body, too many men are showing that when they make that conversion, they still have the traits and benefits. It’d be the same as letting any of us juice up for five years of our life, take all the greatest drugs, have a whole laboratory doctors helping us out and then okay now quit it, and six months later you’re going to compete with natural guys. You don’t think I’m going to have an advantage? C’mon man. But we can’t have those conversations because people trip out like, ‘you can’t say that’, well I’m saying it.”

Frank Mir’s opinions may not be what some people want to hear or agree on, but as he relates it to both his fighting career and his personal life, there’s no benefit to dishonesty.

“I just that dishonesty really interferes or inhibits growth. Think about it, if I look at a picture that I don’t like my first response is to look away, right? And that’s a natural knee jerk reaction right? People look away because my brains knows that if I don’t see it, it doesn’t exist. I can lie to myself and I’m more comfortable with that reality that that’s not happening, right? No, stare at the picture, look at it, face it on, because it does exist whether you know it or not, or you want to acknowledge it.

And so that can be taken to us as people, whether I want to acknowledge my shortcomings or not, they’re still my shortcomings. I can justify them any way I want to but the more honest I am, the more brutally honest I can be, the more growth it leaves for me in the future. I can you know, learn to develop and change, or some things you just have to accept. My height is my height, you know, certain things about me I have to accept that they are what they are, but being honest with what they are allows me to leverage them properly. ”

Ahead of Bellator 231, an open and honest Frank Mir is still focused on his fight with Roy Nelson, even if it is a fight he didn’t want. As for his expectations, Mir said his injuries are at an all-time low while his conditioning is at an all-time high, he’s ready for the fight to go to the ground, but he’s honest and focused, on cementing his legacy as the greatest submission artist in heavyweight MMA history.

With his focus comes honesty, and with both of those traits front and center, Frank Mir knows he will be the best example that he has set out to be for himself, his fighting career, and his family.

You can hear the full interview with Frank Mir below:

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