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Breaking down UFC 111: Frank Mir vs. Shane Carwin

After controversial comments, Mir says he’s going back to his ‘boring self’


Steve Marcus

UFC heavyweight fighter and Las Vegas resident Frank Mir speaks to reporters following an open workout at his gym Friday, March 12, 2010. Mir, a former Bonanza High School wrestler, is scheduled to face Shane Carwin for an interim heavyweight championship on March 27 at UFC 111 in New Jersey.

UFC 111: Workouts

Georges St. Pierre and Dan Hardy talk to the media about Hardy's role as the underdog, while Shane Carwin and Frank Mir talk Brock Lesnar

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NEWARK, N.J. — Frank Mir showed little emotion Wednesday as UFC President Dana White announced that Brock Lesnar would be attending his interim championship fight against Shane Carwin at UFC 111 this weekend.

According to the Las Vegas-based fighter, not only did he show no emotion toward the news — he felt none.

"I'm pretty numb to the whole thing. I didn't even acknowledge it, really," Mir said. "I heard the words, but I'm pretty focused on Shane.

"Honestly, I think I made the Brock thing bigger than I had to. I don't have any issues; I'm pretty content. I've put a lot of things behind me and if fighting Brock again doesn't work out, I'm 1-1 against the guy. I don't care."

To say that Mir's stance on Lesnar has changed in the past month would be an understatement. Ever since losing to Lesnar at UFC 100 in July, Mir had seemed obsessed with thoughts of taking him on again.

Mir found himself in the national spotlight last month, when he described his feelings toward Lesnar as "legitimate hate" and that he wanted to "break his neck in the ring."

The comments didn't go over well with UFC brass, including White who said that, while it's obvious Mir wasn't speaking literally, those words had the potential to set the entire sport back.

"No one backs up their fighters more than I do when people make mistakes," White said. "But to say something like that — the problem is that there are people that really believe (Mir) could break his neck on Saturday. These are misconceptions I fight every day.

"Mir said, 'I want this to be the first death in MMA.' You can't say that. I understand you're emotional, but you can't say that."

The fallout from Mir's comments may mean that UFC fans see a different version of him from now on.

At least that's been the case leading up this weekend's fight for the interim title.

Even Mir himself acknowledged his approach to promoting the fight with Carwin has been different and more toned-down than in the past and admitted that many of his comments about Lesnar had been with the idea of promoting the potential third meeting in mind.

"The bottom line is I'm under contract with the UFC and whatever makes them unhappy isn't good for me," Mir said. "I've been here with the UFC since the first days Zuffa took ownership.

"Performance as a fighter in itself is not going to sell pay-per-views. It's not going to warrant you a title shot. Sometimes my true nature can be on the boring side and I got carried away. I apologize it was taken that way and at least now I can just return to true form and be my own boring self."

While the reaction Mir received from the UFC may be a big reason he's playing nice with Lesnar now, the fighter says he realizes that obsessing over one opponent wasn't good for him in the long run.

When Lesnar came down with an intestinal problem last year and wasn't sure if he'd be able to fight again, Mir went into a depression that kept him out of training for days because he thought he may never get the rematch he wanted so much.

According to Mir, it was shortly after that when he sat down and realized there were plenty of other challenges awaiting him.

"I think him getting sick made me realized how obsessed I was with it," Mir said. "Me and my wife sat down and I realized the real issue about it was that I wanted to improve myself.

"The heavyweight division is so stacked that if I never face Brock again, but I beat Shane and Junior Dos Santos and Cain Velasquez, I won't lose sleep over it. I could care less. I think all those other guys are very dangerous fights."

If Mir is successful in getting past Carwin Saturday night, it should be interesting to see if old feelings come back upon seeing Lesnar sitting ringside.

Or will he show his boring side after all?

Quick Hits:

As much as Lesnar has nothing to do with this fight once the cage door closes, there have been many comparisons made between the heavyweight champion and Carwin.

While Carwin (11-0) admits he shares similar physical attributes to Lesnar, the comparison pretty much stops there.

"A lot of people like to make comparisons to me and Brock because of obviously the size," Carwin said. "But I think Brock's game is different than mine. He likes to lie on people and flatten them out and I tend to be more active."

Both fighters are equally good on their feet and on the ground, but in vastly different ways.

On the feet, Carwin is a power puncher who looks to overwhelm guys; Mir (13-4) relies more on footwork and elusiveness.

"I think if I were to try and stand right in front of Shane and exchange shots, it's a coin toss at that point," Mir said. "I want to avoid that as much as possible by movement and footwork. I've been able to fight backwards a little bit better than most other heavyweights."

On the ground, Carwin is a former collegiate wrestler with a lot of experience; Mir holds the second-highest submission conversion rate in the UFC.

Last Time Out:

Mir: First round win by submission over Cheick Kongo at UFC 107.

Carwin: First round win by TKO over Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC 96.

The Lines: Mir, minus-140; Carwin, plus-110

Final Words:

Mir: On the new weight he's added since UFC 100: "I think the greatest indication of whether or not it was beneficial will be against Carwin. Size didn't come into factor in my last fight with Cheick Kongo. We didn't lock up to where the weight became an issue. Carwin has been an athlete in his size a lot longer than I've been in mine, so if I can nullify some of his strength, that will be a better indication that it's beneficial."

Carwin: On Mir's comments and motivation toward Lesnar: "I think Frank's motivation stems from Brock getting in his face after the fight. Usually you respect your opponent and all the trash talk is to build the fight. If somebody were to get in my face like that after a fight, even if they had beaten me, I'd probably start throwing right there. That's where a lot of Frank's feelings come from. Those guys have had a war of words."

Brett Okamoto can be reached at 948-7817 or [email protected]. Also follow him on twitter: LVSunFighting.

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