At what point does a fighter realize it’s time to hang the gloves up and call it a day?

How many knockouts, broken bones or endless days spent inside a gym rather than at home does it take for a fighter to say no mas?

Frank Mir has been contemplating the answers to these questions lately, and another loss might prompt him to call it a career.

The former UFC heavyweight champion could find himself in that predicament if he loses to Alistair Overeem at UFC 169. Although both men come into the fight attempting to salvage what remains of their once splendid careers, it’s not hard to envision the scenario of how Mir would lose this fight. Mir’s chin has been questionable in his later years, and everyone knows Overeem is one of the best strikers in MMA. If Mir loses at UFC 169, it will likely be in the form of him looking up at the lights or lying face down on the canvas.

It’s a scene that’s repeated itself far too often in recent memory for the former champ. Against Shane Carwin, Mir ate numerous “lunchbox-sized” fists before the referee stepped in. He was absolutely blasted by Junior dos Santos. He was roughed up pretty good by Brock Lesnar in their rematch. His latest loss also came via TKO when Josh Barnett landed a knee flush to Mir’s skull, causing the heavyweight to collapse to the floor.

If Mir doesn’t leave UFC 169 with his hand raised, is it fair for fans to call for his retirement?

To put it plainly: yes.

We’ve all seen what happens when a fighter gets a little long in the tooth and short on chin. There’s no need to look further than Chuck Liddell for an example. It’s a painful thing to watch, even if you’re not a fan of the fighter.

Mir also is (or at least should be) a candidate for the UFC Hall of Fame once his career is over. It’s always difficult to see someone with an illustrious career end on such a sour note. There is, of course, the statistical part of the argument as well. A loss would be Mir’s fourth in a row, and give him a total of eight losses by knockout. That’s eight times that Mir was removed from his senses. With a lot of focus being paid to brain injuries in the team sports realm, that’s an alarming number. It’s hard to imagine what a fighter’s brain composition resembles after a lengthy career in any sport where vicious blows to the head are part of the game, but the research makes it increasingly obvious that it isn’t pretty.

There’s another reason fans should clamor for Mir to retire if he indeed does lose to Overeem at UFC 169. Perhaps even if he wins, fans should make a claim for retirement so as to have Mir sit on a Fox Sports 1 set in an announcer’s booth. Anyone who has listened to a WEC broadcast featuring Mir knows what an insightful fighter he can be. He’d make an excellent coach given the knowledge he has, and he would be an excellent addition to any analyst position. He can still speak fluently without the use of subtitles, which can’t be said for a number of guys who competed during his era. And he isn’t afraid to speak his mind, no matter how preposterous his words may be. Just imagine the sound-bite gold that would be created by a panel featuring Chael Sonnen and Mir.

It’s pretty clear Mir can’t keep up with the current crop of young heavyweights, and virtually nobody outside the Mir camp envisions him making another run at the title. He has nothing left to prove and no further accomplishments to grab. With nowhere to go but down, let’s hope Mir can hang up his gloves while he’s still physically able to and continue a career in front of the camera, in the broadcast booth, where he can still entertain people without jeopardizing his health.

Photo: Former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir (James Law/Heavy MMA)

About The Author

Kyle Symes
Staff Writer

Kyle is a recent graduate of Aurora University, where he obtained a Bachelor's in Communications. Kyle resides in Illinois, just outside of Chicago. He played baseball and football in both high school and college, but is now focusing on an amateur MMA career.

  • Christopher

    Yeah, a panel with Sonnen and Mir would be great, but Mir isn’t prone to trashing a fighter unless he has stats to back up his claims. Mir is known to run his mouth quite often (though, not recently, for some reason), and if anyone could put Sonnen in his place it’d be Mir.

  • Jacob Spinney

    I’m not disputing that Mir would make a great commentator. But what would we be saying if Mir had won his last 2 fights? Would we not be saying he deserves another shot at the title or close to it? The fact is his last 2 fights were only losses on paper. He was hugged against the cage for 15 minutes by Cormier, which is NOT a loss in my book since Cormier could literally wall and stall every single fighter in the UFC if he wants to. And then Mir had a flash knockdown that should not have been stopped. Seriously, if he had that referee for his 2nd Nogueira fight, the ref would’ve given Nogueira the win and wouldn’t have let it continue to see that Mir would have in fact ripped his arm off. We shouldn’t judge Mir based on his bad luck in the last couple fights. We should judge him based on how he’s looked. And he’s looked amazing these last couple fights; better than he ever has in the past.