Shortly before current Light Heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier’s debut fight in Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), I stumbled upon a truly bizarre phenomenon while trudging through one of the sport’s many appalling forums: The "Frank Mir Curse," one of the rare absolutes in a uniquely volatile sport.
In short: if you beat Frank Mir, you will lose your next fight. Counting the odd instance wherein Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin had each beaten Mir in their latest fights, resulting in Lesnar winning that bout and then losing his next one, this happened to six consecutive fighters without fail.
Mir’s fought seven times since I wrote that article, going 2-5, and considering his recent self-imposed release from the organization following a failed drug test, I figured now was as good a time as any to see how MMA’s own mutation of the "Madden Curse" has progressed.
When last we left our hero, his accursed face left Junior dos Santos at the mercy of Cain Velasquez in their first rematch. Here is what has happened since:
Frank Mir vs. Daniel Cormier
The fight between these two was a first in quite a few ways. It was Cormier’s first fight in UFC, the first time Mir ever lost by decision, and the first time the "Frank Mir Curse" failed to take effect. Cormier controlled the fight en route to an underwhelming unanimous decision and then -- despite all known laws of the MMA universe working against him -- did the exact same thing to Roy Nelson six months later.
This anomaly prompted a re-evaluation of the once-ironclad law of "do unto Frank Mir as another will shortly do unto you." Was the curse finally broken, did it only apply to those who knocked him out, or was Daniel Cormier just immune?
Frank Mir vs. Josh Barnett
The first hypothesis didn’t last long. Four months after putting on an in-fighting clinic against Mir, which was capped off by a fight-ending knee, Josh Barnett stepped into the cage against Travis Browne as a small favorite. He lasted all of 60 seconds before getting his skull turned to mush by a series of vicious elbows. Obviously, more data was needed.
Frank Mir vs. Alistair Overeem
The second hypothesis went down in flames one fight later. Overeem battered the hell out of the former champion, but couldn’t put him away despite at least one 10-8 round and zero quality offense coming back at him.
Ben Rothwell had quite a bit more quality offense to offer, culminating in a thumping right hand that demolished "Demolition Man" for the ninth time in his career.
The Rothwell-Overeem fight was something of a tragedy. Not because the big Dutchman got his brains scrambled, but because Cormier’s move to 205 pounds basically eliminates any possibility that he’ll rematch Mir to find out if the first result was an outlier. Indeed, it's a tremendous loss for science.
Frank Mir vs. Antonio Silva and Frank Mir vs. Todd Duffee
Mir won these fights, so they are useless for our purposes.
Frank Mir vs. Andrei Arlovski
Arlovski was actually the very first enforcer of the "Frank Mir Curse," having flattened Ian Freeman not long after "The Machine’s" upset of Mir. This time around, Stipe Miocic dished out some turnabout following "The Pitbull’s" decision over Mir and did so with aplomb, starching him in just 54 seconds. Nothing personal, Andrei. It’s just how things are.
Frank Mir vs. Mark Hunt
No lie, I was prepared to recommend a bet on Hunt at UFC 200 before remembering the existence of the "Frank Mir Curse." Good thing, too, as "Super Samoan" went from crushing Mir with a single right hand to carrying nearly 300 pounds of pissed-off Brock Lesnar for 15 minutes. Thanks, "Frank Mir Curse."
The Future of "Frank Mir Curse"
Mir’s failed drug test resulted in a two-year suspension, as a result of which he requested his release from the promotion he called home for nearly 15 years. Perhaps he’ll head over to the barely-regulated morass of Russian MMA, passing on his dark legacy to promising eastern European prospects and ruining their chances at the big time. Godspeed, Frank Mir, and thank you for adding a little voodoo to the sport.