Pull up any early WEC event on UFC Fight Pass and it's likely you'll hear a familiar voice in the broadcast booth. That's because up until mid-2010, the distinctive timbre of two-time UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir was synonymous with the WEC's blue cage and gloves.
Mir served as the WEC's full-time color commentator throughout the majority of the promotion's lifespan, soundtracking the rise of lighter weight greats like Urijah Faber and Dominick Cruz with heaps of analysis and in-cage experience, often to great acclaim. Mir ultimately relinquished his post following WEC 46, but now that he's had some time away, the 36-year-old is once again looking for an opportunity to pick up where he left off.
"I actually just talked to Dana (White) the other day about it," Mir told MMAFighting.com. "When there's a spot that opens up, I'd like to jump back in there and start broadcasting again."
Mir (18-9) lost his cageside role to Stephan Bonnar amid controversy in 2010, after publicly stating that he wanted his then-rival, Brock Lesnar, "to be the first person that dies due to Octagon-related injuries." Bonnar ended up commentating several of the final seven WEC events before the promotion merged with the UFC, while Mir compiled another run at the heavyweight title before falling in a four-fight slump that left many pondering whether retirement was his best option.
All of those questions have been long forgotten now, though. Mir has enjoyed a late-career resurgence in 2015, unexpectedly reviving his status as a UFC heavyweight contender with back-to-back knockouts over Antonio Silva and Todd Duffee in a combined time of 2:53.
With the FOX deal continuing to provide new opportunities for well-spoken fighters, he sees the broadcast booth as an obvious next step.
"I'm doing it every time when I sit at home and break down film, so it's pretty easy to pick back up," Mir said.
"I miss it. I think the more that people appreciate the sport, the more they're a fan of it. I love martial arts, so why wouldn't I want to help people understand it more?"
Over his time in the WEC, Mir commentated the early fights of many men who ultimately went on to become UFC stars.
From names like Benson Henderson and Donald Cerrone, to Anthony Pettis and Chad Mendes, the WEC's coffers were absurdly rich in retrospect. But the debut of one Brazilian, in particular, left an impression on Mir like no other: UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo.
"Different level," Mir reflected. "That guy was on a different level. I saw that the first time he started moving around."
Mir commentated a majority of Aldo's first six fights inside the WEC, and right away he saw greatness in the unknown 21-year-old from Manaus.
"I remember one time watching Jose Aldo fight Jonathan Brookins, and he just chopped him up," Mir said. "And I remember sitting there and they're like, ‘well, you know what, don't send an interpreter in there. It takes too much time.'
"We're down in Florida and they're sitting there, and I grabbed one of the powers that be and went, ‘That's your future champ. I think we should interview him regardless of how difficult it is.' I called that the first time I'd ever saw him move."