Frank Mir believes his fighting stock has risen more in a loss in his pro boxing debut than most of his MMA victories, but the experience wasn’t all positive from his end.
Mir competed on the Triller Fight Club event earlier this month against former, multiple-time cruiserweight world champion Steve Cunningham and went the distance over the six-round bout. The judges scored the fight 60-54, 60-54, 58-56 for Cunningham in the first of two MMA vs. boxing matchups of the event.
The former UFC heavyweight champion has no issues with the judges scoring it for Cunningham; however, he does have an issue with two judges not giving him a single round.
“Actually, I thought the fight was four [rounds] to two,” Mir told MMA Fighting. “I had it 58-56 when I was walking in the corner and I thought, maybe one of the rounds I stole at the end because I landed that good shot at the end of the third, so I was thinking, ‘Maybe one of these went my way and I got this to a draw.’ When they started announcing the scores of 60-54, I was like, c’mon guys. Really? Not one round? Look, I know this is boxing vs. MMA but be fair.”
Mir was originally scheduled to face Antonio Tarver at the event, but Tarver didn’t meet Georgia Athletic & Entertainment Commission requirements to compete. It was clear that Mir took the preparations for his first pro boxing bout extremely seriously and it showed in the fight against Cunningham.
In a night that had a little bit of everything—both good and bad—Mir was honored to shine some positive light on the MMA world through his efforts.
“It’s been a great experience,” Mir said. “Obviously my stock has gone up more in this loss than most of my victories and I think it’s because people are appreciative of the journey. They realized the battles that I’ve fought, what I’ve put on the line, they could see how hard I had been working to go out there and do this on a technical side, a nutrition side, a lifting side. So I think that’s a good trend.
“There’s a lot of things that happened that night that were bad examples to our children and I think people can at least appreciate that going out there and being a warrior, regardless of the result, is something that we can admire in our culture. I’m very proud to represent that and help guide other people and say, ‘Hey, look man, it’s not always about winning and losing. Sometimes it’s about how you play the game, how you fight and how you show up.’ Those are things that are within our control and I feel that takes stress off of people to go out there and perform as well as you can and let the chips fall where they may.”
It wasn’t all positive for the mixed martial arts community in Atlanta that night as the main event saw Jake Paul stop Ben Askren just shy of the two-minute mark. The event also featured live musical performances, comedy sketches, and guest commentators, including Oscar De La Hoya who, to say the least, was not on his A-game.
While the event was a memorable one for Frank Mir the competitor, Frank Mir the parent admits had it been a normal, non-pandemic time around the world, he might have looked at things a lot differently
“I get that it was also a concert, and there were certain elements to the concert that would make parents of the 11-to-15-year-old kids uncomfortable,” Mir explained. “I have never felt uncomfortable bringing my children to a fight and my kids go to concerts all the time. But the atmosphere and kind of how the hosts were behaving, the atmosphere that would’ve been set had it been a sold-out arena, I don’t think I’d be comfortable having my children there, to say the least.
“Look, I’m not anti-drugs at all, as far as weed, all the more power to you. Personally, it’s not my cup of tea, but that’s just because it makes me lazy and I’ll just eat and sleep. I already have the urges to do that, but I have [no problem with it] for other people. I think it should be completely legal. I’m very pro marijuana. But I don’t know, everyone being high on a show, drinking and hanging out, partying during a show, it’s a little too much, guys.
“Certain people have a certain character that we get and understand, like Snoop Dogg. I get it. That’s him, that’s who he is and if you hire Snoop Dogg expecting something else, you’re the idiot. And he brings a huge fan base and he’s the cool guy. As far as some of the guys they brought on, and I don’t blame Triller for that, they brought Al Bernstein on to be a legitimate boxing host. They brought on De La Hoya to be a legitimate guy. Obviously, you can’t control what shape he showed up. But I still wonder, how come the producer listening in, watching this doesn’t go, ‘Hey man, let’s let him know he’s having a rough night and cut it short. We’re gonna get him out of here because he’s embarrassing us, he’s embarrassing himself, he’s upsetting a lot of people.’
“If you’re sitting there with your phone, you can see that and it almost overshadowed my fight that I’m having as MMA vs. boxing in a boxing match, and now the topic became how awful [he was] and what the hell is Oscar on?”
De La Hoya’s commentary became a big story during the fight. MMA Fighting was on the scene during the event and it was revealed that the commentary could not only be heard while watching at home, but was also piped into the speakers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
The 48-year-old De La Hoya, who is scheduled to make his return to the squared circle in July against a yet to be named opponent, recently apologized for his behavior during Mir’s fight. As much as Mir wasn’t thrilled with De La Hoya, he is actually placing the onus on the entire commentary team, especially since they could be heard throughout the arena.
“You still have to be a professional and show up,” Mir stated. “If you want to cut loose and let go, there’s people who have met me out when I’m out after a fight. I’ll have a couple of drinks. I’ve commentated shows and afterwards, you’ll see me at a bar and I’m having a beer, smoking a cigar. That’s when it’s time to play. You don’t play while you’re supposed to be working. We can all have fun while we work. I enjoy my job when I commentate. People can hear me in the past working with ACB, we’re making jokes, having fun. But as far as cracking out the champagne before the show is over with, no. You don’t party before the show is done. Get your work done, be a professional, and then go cut loose and enjoy yourself.”
“I did [hear De La Hoya’s commentary during the fight],” Mir continued. “It was distracting to me a little bit. I was more upset when they were talking sh*t about Cunningham. First, he was gonna murder me, and I expected that for the first round or two. But then as I was listening talk about Cunningham, I was like, wait a minute. You guys aren’t giving me credit for what I’m doing, you’re just trying to say that he’s no good? That this guy is a chump? To me, it was a such a loser mentality about how to commentate the fights and I would expect more from somebody who has been in here at the highest level, so that’s one thing.
“The other thing is the judges. They have to own up on that. Really, not one round you gave me? It’s because you were listening to the commentary. It was piped in and it influenced the judges. One judge had it correct with the 58-56 score, four rounds to two. But as far [as the other judges go], it was a shutout? All six rounds? I didn’t win a single round? That I didn’t agree with and I felt that was completely on the commentators—and it’s not their fault the judges are influenced by that and that they weren’t focused on the fight itself, but that’s what happened.”
With a lot of valuable lessons learned, Mir is planning on returning to the boxing ring, along with potentially moving to the kickboxing realm and he hasn’t ruled out a return to MMA competition. Mir has also signed a deal with the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship and expects to compete for that organization sometime in 2021.
As far as competing under the Triller banner, Mir said he would do it again, but he would like some changes to be made.
“With the improvement of my hands, they’re so much better right now that it helped build me as a martial artist so, of course, I’ll continue to do boxing matches,” Mir stated. “I would also like to do some kickboxing matches because those will relate to MMA.
“[I would compete for Triller again] but there’s a few things I would like them to make some adjustments on that I think needs to be brought to their attention. Melissa Hendricks was phenomenal on the fight side, their matchmaker Peter was phenomenal to work with, so a lot of the people had the best of intentions. But this was a crazy monster that nobody had ever been a part of. You have production that’s responsible for the music aspect, you have the commentators and what they’re doing with the celebrities, then you have the fight production trying to go on and all these guys trying to intermingle and work together. At one point, I was actually impressed it went off because I had never seen so many moving parts.
“Are there some hiccups? Absolutely. I would like the show to be watched by more of a general audience. I feel like they hit their market audience, but I’m also a little disappointed—and a lot of it had to do with what Oscar did—but I think it was a little too excessive with the weed, the drinking and everything else, the partying. It’s like you’re alienating a lot of our mainstream America right now. Let’s tone it down a little bit. Let’s add flavor to it, but we don’t have to make it where, as a parent, we’re not uncomfortable that my kids are watching this.”