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‘Stupid remarks’ put Mir, UFC on the defensive

Apparently, Frank Mir doesn’t really wish death on Ultimate Fighting Championship nemesis Brock Lesnar.

On Tuesday, a day after quotes from a Friday interview on a Pittsburgh radio station began to circulate on the Internet and in print, the 30-year-old Las Vegan and the UFC were in full damage-control mode. During that interview, Mir said of Lesnar, ”I hate who he is as a person. I want to break his neck in the ring.”

Mir was much more conciliatory Tuesday.

"I would like to apologize to Brock Lesnar, his family, the UFC and the UFC fans for my stupid remarks," Mir said in a statement. "I respect Brock, all the other fighters, and the sport of mixed martial arts. I’m sorry that I stepped out of line."

UFC president Dana White, himself known to make the occasional outlandish comment, also issued a statement.

"I was disappointed by Frank Mir’s comments. Frank’s been with the UFC a long time. He’s a two-time heavyweight champion and a commentator for the World Extreme Cagefighting. I think his emotions are running high right now. He has a big fight coming up next month and he’s still upset about his loss to Lesnar," the statement said. "He’s been talked to. He regrets what he said, and he won’t be saying anything like that again."

The UFC said Lesnar doesn’t have any comment on the matter. An attempt to reach Lesnar was unsuccessful.

Mir said later in a phone conversation that he was attempting to provide fans an understanding of the way fighters think.

"I was trying to give a feel of how I would speak in the locker room with a fellow fighter, but I have to understand that the majority of people are not fighters," he said. "I knew how I meant it, but I can see how people can misconstrue it. It was a poor choice of words on my part. Obviously, I don’t have any intentions outside of wanting to defeat him."

Mir cited how NFL linebacker Ray Lewis fires up his teammates before a game.

"He gives emotional pregame speeches and says all kinds of things that aren’t meant to be taken literally," he said. "I don’t think that he really wants to rip anybody’s head off."

Mir said a relative sent him a text message Monday to let him know his comments were showing up on MMA-related Web sites and drawing negative reaction.

Mir said his wife, Jen, was among the first to express disappointment.

"She said, ‘You don’t think that way, why would you want to come across like that?’ "

During the radio interview, Mir was making the point that he would rather say what’s really on his mind than come up with a politically correct answer.

Then he told Mark Madden of WXDX-FM that he "hates" Lesnar, wants to "break his neck in the ring" and wants Lesnar to "be the first person that dies due to Octagon-related injuries."

Ironically, one of the things Mir said he dislikes about Lesnar is that he’s not a good role model. He said by phone that these comments shouldn’t disqualify himself from being a role model.

"Role models are humans, too," Mir said. "As long as you own up to the mistake that was made, I think that’s what’s important. The right thing to do at this point is address it. I’m now making sure that people can hear and see that I apologize for what I said. Hopefully, it’s the last time I make this mistake."

Mir will fight Shane Carwin for the interim heavyweight title March 27. A win would probably earn him a third shot at Lesnar, whom he is 1-1 against.

Contact reporter Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com or 702-224-5509.

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