Frank Mir: If He Doesn't Retire, What Makes Sense for Former Champ?

Nathan McCarter@McCarterNFeatured ColumnistFebruary 2, 2014

Feb 1, 2014; Newark, NJ, USA; Frank Mir (red gloves) fights Alistair Overeem (not pictured) during UFC169 at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

UFC 169 featured a big heavyweight fight between Alistair Overeem and Frank Mir.

The bout was not big because it was highly anticipated, or because the two fighters were battling for a title shot. It was big because all signs pointed to the fighters nearing the end of their UFC run with a loss.

Overeem came out on top, and he dominated Mir for three rounds.

Heading into the evening, UFC president Dana White was adamant that the two heavyweights needed to perform, per MMA Weekly. Mir did not.

So, what is next for the former UFC heavyweight champion?

Mir loves the fight game, but his UFC days may be numbered. There are no clear indications that the UFC will cut him, but it is a possibility. There are not a lot of options for aging heavyweights.

If the UFC keeps him on the roster, matchmakers have two prime options: Put him in favorable matchups to rebuild him or throw him against young heavyweight prospects as a gatekeeper.

Each one is a fine option for the UFC. The heavyweight division is not littered with talent, and the promotion may need someone like Mir to play the role of gatekeeper for the remainder of his career. And on the off chance that he is able to put together a run, then the UFC has another heavyweight who can sell a big fight.

There is the likelihood that the UFC will instead pit Mir against other non-contender heavyweights who are marginally exciting. Potential opponents include the likes of Mark Hunt and Gabriel Gonzaga.

But that is not what the UFC should do. It benefits no one.

Mir is one of the few fighters on the roster who can sell a fight with his mouth as well as his skills. He is a talker, and that is great in the promotion business. However, it is hard to ignore his recent in-cage performances, and the UFC would be justified in cutting him loose.

Jan 31, 2014; Newark, NJ, USA; Alistair Overeem (not pictured) and Frank Mir weigh in for their heavyweight bout at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

If the UFC does release him, he would have ample opportunities in smaller organizations.

Bellator has not gone after every recent UFC castoff, but the No. 2 promotion would be foolish not to contact Mir. As previously mentioned, he can sell fights with his mouth. He would make a good addition to the Bellator roster, as the promotion needs more exposure.

Although he is scheduled to participate in the upcoming light heavyweight tournament at Bellator 110, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson could complete as a heavyweight, and Jackson vs. Mir could help Bellator sell a pay-per-view when it moves to that market.

The fight has little-to-no consequence, and it would hurt the loser moving forward. However, if Bellator moves to the PPV business, Jackson vs. Mir could be a one-off that sells better than the current list of potential bouts between fighters no one knows or cares about.

Mir is still a serviceable heavyweight fighter with quality skills. That is why the UFC should keep him on the roster. He is a fixture of the company's heavyweight division, and until more quality big men are signed, there is little reason to release him.

Mir has options whether he stays in the UFC or not. There are still going to be paydays on the table for the former champion.