Frank Mir says he has been in Dana White’s office on multiple occasions. There was a time, Mir said, when the UFC president would take him in with open arms and impart some “big brother” advice. Mir, after all, is the former UFC heavyweight champion and one of the promotion’s most tenured fighters.
During the course of Mir’s situation with USADA, Mir said he reached out to White multiple times, first looking for guidance and then to ask if White would be a part of his induction into the Nevada Sports Hall of Fame last year. Mir told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour that White has yet to get back to him and he’s bummed out about it.
“I thought maybe this was another situation like that, but I guess not,” Mir said of previous times when he asked for help. “I don’t know.”
Mir, 37, failed a USADA drug test for the banned substance dehydrochlormethyltestosterone (DHCMT) in March 2016 and it was announced last week that he would be suspended for two years, retroactive to April 2016. Mir will be eligible to return to the Octagon in April 2018.
The 16-year UFC veteran is displeased with how the entire thing has gone down, from the beginning of the USADA era, to what he believes were inconsistencies from USADA, to his current standing with the UFC.
Right now, Mir isn’t sure what he’ll do next as far as fighting. He wants to continue competing and he’d like the UFC to release him, so he’d be able to fight for another promotion. He’s not sure why he’s not allowed to go elsewhere when then UFC won’t let him fight until next year. In the meantime, Mir is doing broadcasting for organizations like Absolute Championship Berkut and Fight Nights Global.
“I’ve tried to just make things work as well as possible,” Mir said. “But I don't even know if I’m allowed to discuss things with other organizations and find out if I can fight for them or not. I’m kind of in this limbo.”
Mir said this process with USADA and getting supplements tested to see if they contained banned drugs cost him $30,000. He still wants to fight to provide for his family, but he won’t be able to do that in the UFC until his suspension is up. Mir said the only UFC official he has spoken to recently is Reed Harris, the vice president of athlete development. Not White or former CEO and owner Lorenzo Fertitta.
Things seem different now than they were before since WME-IMG purchased the UFC from the Fertittas last year for more than $4 billion, Mir said.
“My feelings have been hurt, yes,” Mir said. “If that’s what you’re asking. I don’t feel the same about the company as I felt years ago. And I’m seeing that even with some of the ways they’re handling things the way they handle them now. There’s been several times where I’m like, ‘Wow, if Lorenzo was still there at the office, if Dana was still in full control and not just a minority shareholder, would that have ever happened?’ I don't know about that.
“I don't know if this is the same company that I started with 15 years ago.”
The USADA situation, in particular, has been a thorn in Mir’s side. Initially, he was told he failed just one test in March 2016. Another, taken in February 2016, was negative. So Mir had been having supplements he took in that time span tested to see which one caused the failure.
USADA, though, had his February 2016 sample re-analyzed. The March 2016 sample came back positive using a new method at a WADA-accredited Tokyo lab. When tested under that new procedure, the February 2016 sample also came back positive for DHCMT, which USADA described as a “long term” metabolite.
Mir said he was told that it could have been in his system for years, possibly as far back as when he was using testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) with an exemption. So, Mir feels like his time and money was wasted trying to figure out what he took in between the two tests when really the prohibited substance could have been ingested long before.
“Now do I spend x amount of money more going after the supplements I took three years ago now … or do I just ride out the rest of the suspension?” Mir said. “I don't know. It just doesn’t sit well with me.”
USADA does have the legal right to re-test collected samples using new technology up to years after the initial collection, based on the agency’s contract with the UFC.
Mir (18-11) said he’s inclined to keep trying to figure out how the DHCMT got into his system. He has maintained that he did not knowingly take anything banned. The financial cost of all this, though, has been discouraging, he said. He doesn’t know how someone who hasn’t made as much money in MMA could afford it.
“Thankfully, I’ve had a successful enough career that I have a little bit of money to try to fight this,” Mir said. “What about the guys who don’t? What if a prelim guy gets falsely accused or takes something from a supplement company he wasn’t aware of. Where does he get the money to try and battle this?”
For the first time during this situation, Mir said, he has thought about the benefits of a fighters association or union. When an MLB or NFL player fails a drug test, union representatives act as advocates for them. UFC fighters have nothing like that.
While an appeal is out the window and Mir is working on getting a lawyer to address his UFC contract status, the uncertainty of how he tested positive for DHCMT is still lingering with him. Mir said he’s still bent on finding out how it happened, even if he knows the two-year suspension will stand.
“For me and my family, I want to know what happened and how it happened,” Mir said. “That’s for me.”