Frank Mir is mutually cutting ties with Bellator MMA and may now be looking to rejoin Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) as a color commentator.
Mir, who has been part of Bellator’s heavyweight division since signing with the promotion back in 2017, had one fight remaining on his current contract. But due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Bellator will not be able to stage Mir’s final bout anytime soon and has agreed to release the veteran heavyweight from his contractual obligations.
That said, Mir still plans on fulfilling his last fight under the Bellator banner before hitting free agency.
“Basically I had a good conversation with Scott Coker,” said Mir during a recent episode of his is “Phone Booth Fighting” podcast. “(I’m) still going to have a fight with them, just because there’s a fight left on my fight contract. Scott was very easy to talk to about it – their company’s shut down, he hasn’t even left his house in three weeks – so, once they start up, there’s going to be a backlog of fights because they have so many fighters on their roster.
“So now I’m basically, not basically, I am a free agent. Even though I would still do fights for Bellator, I’m not beholden to any contract to anybody now. So I can try out the free market and see whoever opens up to fighting first.”
Mir, 40, last competed at Bellator 231 this past October when he defeated Roy Nelson in their main event rematch. The victory was Mir’s first under the Bellator banner after dropping back-to-back losses to Fedor Emelianenko and Jay Ayala. The win also snapped a four-fight losing streak Mir accumulated dating back to his final two fights in UFC from 2015-2016.
While the former UFC heavyweight champion isn’t the same fighter he once was that isn’t going to stop Mir from testing all avenues in free agency. This includes a potential return to UFC, but not as a fighter.
“It has always been a dream of mine to fight in Japan,” he admitted. “I remember watching the old PRIDEs back in the day, and RIZIN looks like they have a card coming up in August. So now I’m opened up to where now I can actually start talking to other companies and seeing where to go, which is great for commentary stuff, as I know before being exclusive fight-wise with Bellator I think hurt me as far as maybe commentating for the UFC. So maybe it’ll open up that avenue to where I could start commentary for UFC fights again and other organizations.”
As one of the most recognizable heavyweight names in the sport today Mir shouldn’t have trouble finding a new home. UFC may not be the most logical landing spot for Mir considering the promotion’s commentating stable already includes fighters such as Daniel Cormier, Dominick Cruz, and Paul Felder, but Mir should still garner attention from other premier MMA organizations, whether as a fighter or broadcast guru.
The only issue for Mir is the timing of the whole thing. With the MMA world shut down for the foreseeable future amidst the coronavirus spread, Mir may have to wait quite some time before getting his foot in the door for in-depth contract negotiations.
“Through the social media and through the show, I’ll put it out there that now I’m a free agent,” he said. “It’s not impossible to get a hold of me. Just DM me on my Instagram or send me a message through Facebook, I’m going to get it.
“But as far as me right now hounding guys down, I don’t know. I’m just under the impression that most people will have much bigger issues right now than signing me. So right now, it’ll be slow until once I see the quarantines lift and we get on the downside of the bell curve and life starts picking up like it does. Then I’ll probably be more adamant about being on the phone and making contact with guys. But right now, I guess I’ll just do a passive approach, let it be known that I’m out there and I’m available, but I’m not going to be blowing up anybody’s mailboxes right now.”
What do you think, fight fans? Where do you want to see Mir end up next?