And if Frank Mir unifies the Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight titles with a win over Brock Lesnar Saturday night at UFC 100, Jennifer Mir will be the first person Frank Mir points to after the fight.
Jennifer and Frank are husband and wife, but Jennifer has also been Frank's main source of inspiration and, at times, tough love.
Mark Kriegel of FoxSports.com has a good column up today on Mir's rise to UFC heavyweight champion in 2004, his fall to the bottom of the heap after serious injuries in a motorcycle accident, and the way Jennifer helped Frank get back on top. Kriegel writes:
Jennifer was the one person who wouldn't give up on Frank, and who wouldn't let Frank give up on himself. Win or lose on Saturday night, Frank owes a lot to Jennifer.
Frank and Jennifer had met some years before at their place of employment, the Spearmint Rhino, one of those euphemistically labeled "gentlemen's clubs" where he worked as the head bouncer. Now they had three kids of their own, including a son Frank adopted from Jennifer's previous relationship. They had built something good. But a fighter who cannot fight does not make for domestic tranquility. With Frank talking retirement, Jennifer knew the marriage was at a crossroads. Worse than that, they were looking at a lifetime of regret.
You can quit, no problem, she told him. It's not like he owed her an explanation. "You only have to answer to your children," she said. "Look how they would see you right now. ... Could you explain it to them?"
Just like that, Jennifer Mir became Standup Wife of the Year.
And Frank embarked on another kind of comeback.