“He’s out on his feet! He’s out on his feet! Left hook! What is Dan Miragliotta doing!”
Those were the screamed words of Triller Triad Combat play-by-play commentator Ray Flores as former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir wobbled on his feet for several seconds after taking a straight right and left hand from Kubrat Pulev. The one-minute mark had just passed in the first round of this past Saturday’s main event, and Mir was clearly hurt.
Pulev’s round 1 TKO on Frank Mir, wtf was the ref doing pic.twitter.com/Sp38cHvt0w— BoxingExclusive (@BoxingExclusive) November 28, 2021
The answer to Flores’ question, according to Miragliotta, is that he was doing two things: Giving Mir time to show he was still in the fight, and waiting for Pulev to advance.
“I was waiting for Pulev to come in,” Miragliotta told MMA Fighting on Monday. “That would have made it so much easier for me, because as soon as he would have made one step as if he was attack, I was in a position with my left shoulder and the left side of my body to bump him, push him out, and stop the fight. But he didn’t engage – he backed off, and that’s why I kept watching Mir.
“Then Mir didn’t go down and didn’t put his hands back up – as soon as Pulev made that slight step, I stepped in and stopped the fight. It was easy.”
Miragliotta, a veteran official in the cage and boxing ring, said Mir asked him why the fight was stopped, but the ex-champ’s corner thanked him for protecting their fighter. In the days after the fight, he said more positive messages arrived.
The intensity in Flores’ voice and reception online weren’t nearly as flattering to Miragliotta, who said he was unaware of any criticism leveled against him after the call. But the veteran official stood by his actions and said he had prepared Mir and other Triad fighters for that moment prior to the event.
At the rules meeting, he said, he made it clear that if a fighter was hurt, he could take a knee and receive an eight-count. If the fighter didn’t do so and continued to take damage, he said he would stop the fight.
When Pulev landed a concussive right hand that initiated the finishing sequence, Miragliotta said he was focused on Mir’s reactions. He made the assessment that the ex-champ was “still coherent” but wasn’t defending himself because his hands were down. He said Mir’s MMA history played no part in his decision-making.
“I didn’t want to allow Pulev to come in and hit him again,” Miragliotta said. “But when Pulev backed out, I figured Mir has a chance to either go down and take that knee or put his hands up, and he didn’t do either one, so that’s why I stopped it.”
Mir’s knockout loss was his second since a move into boxing – or in the case of Triad Combat, a hybrid boxing that allowed for clinching and spinning backfists, among other techniques. In April, the former UFC champ lost a decision to former IBF champ Steve Cunningham on the undercard of the Paul vs. Askren boxing event.
Pulev, a former European heavyweight champ, got back in the win column after a knockout loss to now-former heavyweight champ Anthony Joshua, which marked his second loss in 31 pro fights.