Frank Mir enters his UFC 169 matchup against Alistair Overeem on a career-worst three-fight losing streak.
Widely regarded as one of the most savage finishers in UFC history—thanks to his UFC-record three technical submissions and eight first-round submissions—Mir has recently hit a rough patch in his career. A decision loss to Daniel Cormier is sandwiched between two knockout losses during this streak, marking seven total defeats via knockout in Mir's career.
While some analysts and fans feel that Mir is gravely endangering his long-term health and mental acuity with such a history, the former UFC heavyweight champion sees things differently.
When asked if he was worried about his long-term brain health, Mir told Bleacher Report:
"No, not really. Sometimes I have knockout losses that aren't the same from when guys have actually lost consciousness," Mir said. "I actually had a talk with one of the doctors about that, and I brought it up to his attention, like, 'Hey, do I have any results?' and he goes, 'No you've been stunned and rocked, and obviously the referee jumps in to keep the fight from getting detrimental, but as far as being put to sleep where you're staring up at the sky with your eyes open...Those are the knockouts you need to be worried about, and you haven't received any of that yet, so just cross your fingers.' That's probably why I haven't felt any effects throughout my career."
Mir's health and checkered history with suffering knockout losses has certainly created a powerful narrative leading up to UFC 169, but it is not the only bit of controversy surrounding the hulking heavyweight submission artist.
News also surfaced (h/t MMAJunkie.com) that Mir would receive a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) for testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) for this bout, a hot-button topic among fighters and key decision makers in MMA alike.
For Mir, the reason he uses TRT is simple, and it has nothing to do with his performance inside the Octagon.
"I don't think TRT gives me an athletic advantage whatsoever," Mir said. "I'm doing this because it helps me personally. It helps my personal life as far as my mood, my health...I've fought two or three fights needing to be on TRT (when I wasn't) and was actually victorious."
If he has won fights while not using TRT and he does not feel any athletic advantages of using it, why, then, does Mir continue to apply for a TUE?
The answer is simple.
"I just have more energy, and I'm in a better mood," Mir said. "Sometimes, I would notice I was a little less than enthusiastic about getting up and attacking the day. I was moody, a little more irritable and angry…My attitude has kind of changed the last couple years—my wife pointed it out to me. So when I went out for a visit with my doctor, I brought it up to him, and he said, 'Well, we can test your hormone levels. We have a battery of tests to find out if something has changed with you.' That's when it came to light, like, 'Wow, man, you have really low testosterone, and that can affect your heart condition, that can affect so many different factors—it's extremely unhealthy for somebody your age to be that low.'"
Now facing Overeem at UFC 169, Mir understands that these controversies mean little when the cage door closes.
Two men enter. One leaves victorious.
If Mir fails to capture the win, a fourth consecutive loss would serve as a significant smear on his impressive career. Still, he does not feel that another defeat spells ultimate doom for him or his spot on the UFC's roster.
"Obviously, every fight is a must win, but I think the pressure would be more apparent if I was fighting on a prelim against a no-name opponent," Mir said. "The fact is, where I'm positioned on the card for the fight kind of shows the importance of the draw. You're not towards the end, your name's not on billboards because you aren't selling tickets. I don't think I'd go from being on the main card to completely being out of the UFC."