The fighter who had the longest tenure of anyone on the UFC roster is no longer with the company.
Former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir was recently granted his release by the UFC. MMA Fighting confirmed the news, which Mir initially tweeted Saturday.
Following his last fight, a knockout loss to Mark Hunt in Australia, Mir tested positive for oral turinabol metabolites in a USADA test. Mir maintains his innocence, but he remains under two-year suspension. He wouldn’t be able to fight again in the Octagon until April 2018 and asked for his release from the UFC going back to last year.
The 38-year-old Mir, a Las Vegas native, had been with the company since 2001. He debuted at UFC 34 with a first-round submission over Roberto Traven.
Mir’s career was a roller coaster even by MMA standards, with high peaks and low valleys. He submitted Tim Sylvia in just 50 seconds to win the heavyweight title at UFC 48 in 2004. But a bad motorcycle accident put him out of action for a year and a half and he was stripped of the belt.
His career was revived with a memorable submission win over Brock Lesnar at UFC 81 in the latter’s UFC debut, which ignited one of the biggest runs in UFC history. Mir defeated Antonio Rodrigo Nogeuira for an interim heavyweight belt at UFC 92, then lost a unification rematch with Lesnar at UFC 100 in July 2009, which stood as the biggest show in UFC history until the Conor McGregor era.
Mir had another good stretch left in him, as he won four out of five bouts following the loss to Lesnar, leading to a shot at then-champion Junior dos Santos at UFC 146. But Mir lost that one via TKO in the second round. That led to a string of six losses in eight fights.
Mir owns most of the major heavyweight division records: Most fights (27), wins (16), finishes (13), first-round finishes (10) and submissions (8).
Mir also earned plaudits along the way as a color commentator, most notably in the WEC.