weather icon Clear

Frank Mir uses MMA career as springboard to Southern Nevada Sports HOF

When the Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame launched in 1997 with David Humm as its first inductee, Frank Mir was a junior at Bonanza High School.

He became a state wrestling champion and trained in the martial arts with his father, Frank Sr., who ran a studio in Las Vegas. The UFC was in its fourth year and trying to increase its fan base.

Mir became a heavyweight champion in the organization. And on Friday, the 36-year-old will be inducted into the Hall as its first MMA athlete. UFC president Dana White was inducted in 2013.

“Growing up here in Las Vegas, seeing the sports landscape firsthand, knowing about the Hall of Fame, I’ve always known it was something special to get in,” Mir said. “For me to go in as the first MMA athlete, that’s incredible. It’s something I can leave to my children and grandchildren.”

Mir’s career growth parallels that of the UFC. He made his debut at age 22, and in 2004 won the heavyweight title by defeating Tim Sylvia. With his good looks, ability to communicate and sell the sport, Mir appeared to be on his way to a superstar career.

But Mir was involved in a traffic accident three months after he won the title. He was riding his motorcycle when he got blindsided by a car. He broke his leg in two places and shredded the ligaments in his knee, sidelining him for almost two years.

“I always believed I could come back,” Mir said. “I wasn’t going to quit. I had worked too hard to leave the sport.”

“One thing martial arts teaches you is discipline. It also made me appreciate what I had and what I had accomplished. I likened it to a book; the injury closed one chapter of my life. And when I returned to the UFC, it began a new chapter.”

Mir came back to claim the UFC interim heavyweight title in December 2008 with a victory over Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at UFC 92. Mir defeated him again three years later at UFC 140.

Mir had two memorable fights against Brock Lesnar, with Mir winning at UFC 81 and losing at UFC 100.

Mir, 18-11 in the UFC, is dealing with controversy following his March 20 fight in Australia, where he tested positive for the banned substance turinabol after a loss to Mark Hunt. He could face a two-year ban.

“As of now, I’m on hold,” he said. “It’s crazy. I’ve been tested dozens of times and never had a positive test. I don’t do performance-enhancing drugs. I have no idea how this got into my system. I don’t believe in cheating. I’ve tried to be a good role model, not just for my kids but for all kids.”

But Mir is not going to let this latest setback spoil his evening.

“Mixed martial arts represents betterment of yourself,” he said. “Through dedication and hard work, you can work your way up and become a world champion.”

Contact Steve Carp at scarp@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2913. Follow on Twitter: @stevecarprj

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Covering The Cage Videos
Shevchenko says defending the UFC flyweight belt is her number one challenge
UFC women's flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko claimed the vacant title when she defeated Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 231 last December. She will put the belt on the line for the first time in Chicago, Ill., when she faces Jessica Eye at UFC 238 on June 8.
UFC title contender Jessica Eye says her move to Las Vegas gives her an edge
Ohio native Jessica Eye says she moved to Las Vegas to get an edge in performance ahead of facing UFC women's flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 238 in Chicago, Ill., on June 8.
Greg Hardy, former NFL star, on MMA knockout
The former NFL star needed just 17 seconds to score a knockout on Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender Series (Adam Hill/Review-Journal)
Marlon Moraes says Henry Cejudo will regret stepping up to bantamweight - VIDEO
UFC flyweight champion Henry Cejudo is coming up to the bantamweight division to battle Marlon Moraes for the vacant belt on June 8 at UFC 238. Moraes said Cejudo will regret going after a second title in a new division and added that he thinks his path will cross with former champion TJ Dillashaw in the future.
Paige VanZant details her arm injury, when she can return - VIDEO
UFC strawweight Paige VanZant was briefly linked to fight at UFC 236, but had to withdraw from the bout due to a broken arm. As a guest on the RJ Ringside Podcast, she detailed the injury and also spoke about joining the M-1 Global booth as a color commentator.
UFC 236 Press Conference Highlights
UFC 236 will feature a pair of interim title fights. In the main event, UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway will face lightweight contender Dustin Poirier and middleweights Israel Adesanya and Kelvin Gastelum will collide in the co-main event. UFC 236 will take place in Atlanta, Ga., on Apr. 13.
Jon Jones retains light heavyweight belt at UFC 235 - VIDEO
Jon Jones retained the UFC light heavyweight belt when he earned a decision over Anthony Smith in the main event of UFC 235.
Kamaru Usman crowned new champ at UFC 235 — VIDEO
Kamaru Usman became the first African-born fighter to claim a UFC belt when he defeated Tyron Woodley to become the promotion's new welterweight champion.
UFC 235 Official Weigh-in Results - VIDEO
All 24 fighters competing at UFC 235 at the T-Mobile Arena on March 2 stepped on the scale prior for the official fight card weigh-ins. All four fighters competing in the title bouts slated for the event made weight.
UFC's Jones says he has no shame after recent drug test results are released - VIDEO
Though recent drug test results still show trace amounts of Turinabol in his system, UFC light heayvweight champion Jon Jones says he has no shame and is hiding nothing as he prepares for his UFC 235 title bout against Anthony Smith.
Anthony Smith stays level-headed prior to UFC 235 title fight - VIDEO
Despite UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones being in the spotlight for drug test discrepancies and other outside the cage struggles, Anthony Smith says he is tuning out the noise and remaining focused on the challenge of beating the reigning champion in the cage.
UFC 235 Media Day Highlights
Highlights and staredowns from the top three fights on the UFC 235 fight card taking place at the T-Mobile Arena on March 2.
Dustin Poirier beats up Max Holloway at UFC 236

Dustin Poirier bloodied Max Holloway and won a unanimous decision for the UFC interim lightweight title on Saturday night, denying Holloway his chance to become only the fourth fighter to hold two belts at the same time.

Poirier bloodies Holloway, wins UFC interim lightweight belt

Dustin Poirier bloodied Max Holloway and won a unanimous decision for the UFC interim lightweight title on Saturday night, denying Holloway his chance to become only the fourth fighter to hold two belts at the same time.