It’s no secret that things have changed at the UFC lately. From the big, obvious things like ownership, sponsor opportunities, and drug testing policies, to the more subtle things like matchmaking, contract negotiations, and weigh-ins. For fighters, the ways they find themselves running up against these changes can come as a surprise.
Not long ago, Frank Mir was one of the UFC’s perennial company men. Signed to the promotion as a 2-0 22-year-old back in 2001, Mir has been a part of the ZUFFA-WME/IMG family ever since. He’s been heavyweight champion, interim champion, and a title contender year after year. Things haven’t been going as well lately, with a 2-6 record in the past 5 years, but that’s not why Mir is feeling less than enthusiastic about his relationship with the world’s largest MMA organization.
Back in 2016, Mir took a KO loss to Mark Hunt, and along with that loss came the news that he’d failed a USADA drug test. A little more than a year later, Mir is still fighting to clear his name, and he feels that the UFC isn’t doing much to help him (transcript via MMA Fighting).
“My feelings have been hurt, yes,” Mir said. “If that’s what you’re asking. I don’t feel the same about the company as I felt years ago. And I’m seeing that even with some of the ways they’re handling things the way they handle them now. There’s been several times where I’m like, ‘Wow, if Lorenzo was still there at the office, if Dana was still in full control and not just a minority shareholder, would that have ever happened?’ I don't know about that.
“I don't know if this is the same company that I started with 15 years ago.”
Mir claims to have spent $30,000 having the supplements he was taking tested, from around his failed drug test. But recent USADA re-analysis of another previous test (initially deemed clean) came back with signs of metabolites that could have been in his system stretching from when he was on TRT (legal under UFC policy at the time) back in 2014. The whole thing seems to have left him at a loss.
“Now do I spend x amount of money more going after the supplements I took three years ago now … or do I just ride out the rest of the suspension?” Mir said. “I don't know. It just doesn’t sit well with me.”
Mir is currently in the middle of his two-year USADA suspension from MMA competition, which would see him potentially return to action in spring of 2018. Until then it seems he’ll likely continue to be stuck in limbo, faced with a changing relationship between fighter and promotion.