"I would like to apologize to Brock Lesnar, his family, the UFC, and the UFC fans for my stupid remarks. I respect Brock, all the other fighters, and the sport of mixed martial arts. I’m sorry that I stepped out of line."—Frank Mir
I figured that it would be most appropriate that I write about Mir’s apology, because in fairness, I was probably one of his toughest critics in these past couple of days.
First, please let me speak on behalf of myself—and myself alone—when I say that Mir’s apology is absolutely accepted.
“Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them.”—Bruce Lee
In fact, I should be thanking Frank Mir.
Despite what some fight fans may think, I do not hate Frank Mir. I never have.
Have I been a bit critical of him for some of his “mind-game” antics? Yes.
Did he annoy me during his stint as a TUF coach with his constant “Junie...Niiiiiiicce!” remarks? Yes.
So then, why (at the risk of sounding like a back-peddler—which would require an apology, by the way) am I thanking Frank Mir?
I am thanking him, because if not for him, we would not have all been discussing the issue of fight-hyping, trash-talking, and “how far is too far?”
Here is an obvious example: "I want to fight Brock 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 to Octagon-related injuries.”—Frank Mir, WXDX Radio
It’s tough to say that this comment crossed the line because in fairness to Mir, there was no predetermined line to cross. Bad behaviour has been tolerated and excused by many up until this point, and there needs to be a higher level of accountability and professionalism in MMA if we want this sport to continue its incredible growth as an industry (still not legal in New York and Ontario).
For all of the complaining that fight fans did when Brock Lesnar first came into the UFC about not wanting it to emulate the poor characteristics and bad behaviours typically found in the WWE, I was surprised that some fans didn’t really have a problem with Mir’s remarks. In fact, they liked them.
Personally, I found them unprofessional, irresponsible, and downright idiotic.
Anyway, enough said about that. We all make mistakes.
It’s water under the bridge for this fight fan.
Lord knows that I am in no way perfect, and the folks that are probably the most upset with me for writing my last article (c’mon Gary...how ‘bout a hug?!) would certainly be the first in line to tell you exactly that.
I accept that about myself, and I accept that about Frank Mir.
I take my responsibility as a parent and as a coach seriously.
Maybe a little too seriously sometimes...
In fact, a common trend amongst my articles (even the ones bashing Tito) has been ensuring that all professional athletes act in a way that influences our youth positively and responsibly.
Admittedly, Frank Mir had me second guessing my own involvement in this sport. Even some of the comments by the fans had me wondering, why on earth I would want to associate my name and reputation with MMA.
Then, I received this private e-mail from a young man:
“I was trying to get my dad to watch MMA. I was showing him stuff on the web and telling him about the sport. When we came up on Mir’s comments . He is a very critical man and decided he did not think much of the sportsmanship. This morning I sent him a link to your article. He liked what he read. He emailed me back and said maybe. I appreciate your article because it does show that the fans are not barbaric and do not think it should be tolerated. I read somewhere Mir would not let his children watch TUF because of a reason that in my opinion was not even close to what he said. Please excuse spelling and capital letters I’m really trying.”
This has really inspired me to keep going and so, like it or not, I will continue to speak out on the things that I do not like about this sport, in the hopes that one day, it could be something that everyone would all be proud to let their own children get involved with (it’s all about planting “roots,” folks).
Look, I’m not a naive guy.
I know that this is a violent sport. I just really thought that Mir went too far.
More than anything, I felt that Mir’s remarks warranted a serious discussion, exploring all possible consequences.
Martial arts, for me, has NEVER been about violence. I don’t see any competitive fighting sport that way. I have always looked at it more like a physical chess game.
Why would I want to endorse and promote MMA if I thought that it was just stupid brutality?
I could just go down to any local bar instead and watch two idiots kick the crap out of each other for free.
You can call me soft if you want (thanks Stoke), but I call it...being responsible.
And in the best interests of Frank Mir and his mental health, I feel the following quote by a “fan” sums it up best:
“Realistically, the loss to Lesnar has obviously affected Mir and it's clear that he's got some issues involving Lesnar to the level that his judgment is clouded on subjects relating to Brock. I know when I heard him say his motivation to train insane and beat Kongo was so that he could one day tear off Brocks arm in a rematch, I actually was on the fence about where Frank was mentally with his loss. I don't wonder now, Frank needs some closure on that issue, whether it's in the cage or in a therapists room, he needs it badly, it's clear. We've all said and done things we have regretted or STILL regret because we haven't reconciled the situation and I'm pretty sure at SOME point it would be prudent for Frank to make an apology for what was said and rectify his career in the sport.”
Frank Mir is without a doubt a future Hall of Famer in this sport.
We should all want what is best for him.