Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Frank Mir: The Elephant in the Room

I've been waiting for it.

In a society were professional athletes are more and more frequently confessing (or getting caught) to using performance enhancing substances, I figured it was simply a matter of time before someone brought it up. I've been perusing a variety of avenues, and each time I check in I anticipate that the subject will have been broached. And yet...nothing. So I figure that if no one else is going to bring it up, I will. That's right; you know what I'm talking about:

Anabolic steroids.

Please don't misconstrue; this is not an article condeming anabolics as the new "white devil" of our generation. Although I never used them myself, I actually maintain a pro- steroids outlook. Official medical and scientific studies will show that mild to moderate steroid use in healthy males above the age of 25 are actually quite beneficial. This, of course, is assuming that they are used correctly; i.e.: doctor supervision, proper diet, no alcohol consumption, bi-weekly blood tests, etc. I bring up my pro-steriods mentality only to make one point: anabolics have no place in professional sports.

Now, with that being said...

When Frank Mir weighed in at UFC 100 he showed up in the best shape of his life, at a shredded mid 240 pounds. The added conditioning didn't truly avail him though, as he was soon decimated at the hands of the monster named Brock Lesnar. Afterwards, Frank enlisted the aid of former UNLV strength and conditioning coach and World's Strongest Man competitor, Mark Phillipi. Six months later, we got a glimpse of the "new" Frank Mir, who had to (reportedly) cut approximately 10 pounds to make the 265 pound limit. Frank boasted an exceptionally muscular physique, while maintaining his conditioning. This is where I can't help but smell something fishy.

Anyone that has truly dedicated themselves to gaining a significant amount of muscle mass will tell you the same thing: it's not as easy as it looks. A novice, touching a weight for the first time, with a perfect diet and proper training techniques might be able to gain as much as 20 pounds that first year. After the first year (maintaining the previously mentioned perfect diet and training techniques) gaining an additional 10 pounds in a year would be a stretch.

Frank Mir is not a novice athlete. Frank Mir is a professional fighter, which means that cardio, in theory, is his best friend. Gaining weight while doing cardio is virtually impossible. I will go on record right now and say that there is no way a conditioned athlete doing 3-4 hours of cardio a day is going to gain 25 pounds in 6 months.

"But GSP put on muscle mass to fight Dan Hardy; why aren't you complaining about him, too?"

Georges took a year and added on 6-8 pounds of muscle. This I can believe, as it falls with in the realm of natural anatomy, physiology, and homeostasis. 25 pounds in 6 months? Try again.

I like Frank. Hell, my wife likes Frank. He is talented, articulate, promotes himself (and his fights) well, and has overcome his fair share of adversity. But I also feel that Frank has a near unhealthy obsession with Brock Lesnar. On one hand, this is a good thing. He is keeping his eye on the prize, and he has a goal in mind. On the other hand, I feel that this has caused him to look past and dismiss his two previous opponents, as well as possibly/ probably delving into some frowned upon "training methods".

Steriods are good for a variety of things that can be related to fighting. Dianobol can make you stronger. Testosterone can make you more aggressive. Sustanon can help with recovery. But two very pertinant things that steroids can't do is stop a double leg or make your chin any more resistant to a vicious series of left handed uppercuts.

Sorry, Frank; Back to the drawing board. I guess you're just going to have to get the belt back the old fashioned way.


  1. Your analysis is correct. Your assertion is wrong.

    You are correct to say that athlete can gain that much lean mass in that short of an interval (if at all) without modern pharmacological help. No one can achieve those sorts of gains without a cocktail of PEDs (steroids included). It's time that people faced the fact that all professional athletes use PEDs. This is part of our epoch. Fans should stop lying by saying that we think of PED use as cheating whilst still wanting to see the athlete perform at the level which requires them.

    You are wrong to simply condemn steroids in professional sports without an argument. How will you give one? What could possibly serve as premises? PED's are difficult to classify. Some are difficult to test for. Despite popular misconceptions, no unified enforcement body exists to stop PED use in professional sports and no unified set of standards or testing procedures exist. Just a little research will reveal that I'm referring to very serious difficulties which do not have simple or obvious answers (this against the tide of popular ignorance). These difficulties may have no answer at all. Note that people with asthma hold a serious advantage in some sports because they are on steroids (usually from a young age) and people with ADHD have an advantage in other sports because they are on amphetamines which are illegal for anyone else to use. Similar problems apply for diabetics, recent cancer patients, people with depression, and people who sleep in altitude chambers because they can't afford to live in Salt Lake City.

    I suggest the following: 1) Fans should stop lying. 2) Fans who dislike 'steroids' should lobby state authorities to adopt unified standards for 'acceptable limits' for testable drugs and indicators.

    Don't cite some of the facts and point out to people that it's obvious that some particular athlete uses PEDs while failing to point out how common and how entrenched this practice is. Hind site is 20-20. People made fun of me when I said it of Arnold. They mocked me when I said it of Canseco. They shunned me when I said it of Lance. Grow up fans. GSP is on 'em too. And so is EVERY OTHER ATHLETE WHO YOU LOVE AN ADORE! Just stop thinking of these people as 'cheaters' and then YOU won't be embarrassed when the story finally breaks - partly because there won't be a story.

  2. It's been a long while since I've been on my site, so I doubt you'll read this. I feel the need to respond, however:

    I agree with you. On every aspect. You can't take athletes of this caliber (or not even THIS caliber, but anyone that has been a life long athlete), push them every day of their lives to be bigger, faster, and stronger, and not expect it to happen. You condemn them when they get caught, but throw'em a little wink if they don't. Consider this: What is more marketable for a business (and don't lie to yourself; the NFL/NBA/MBL/UFC are all businesses) a chiseled GSP or a flabby Tim Sylvia? Who are the kids going to try and emplify?

    If sporting agencies were truly serious about PED usage (or as I grew up hearing about them, anabolics) they would institute polices that would moniter them much more strictly (weekly testing, harsher penalties for users, penalties for coaches (because, yes, coaches do very obliquely recommend them)). Make a coach responsible for what their fighters/ team mates are doing and the browbeat tactics would drop.

    With that being said, any fighter or athlete that says " I didn't know" is full of shit. When I stated that steriods have no place in professional athletics I was coming from a purist stand point. Hard work combined with natural ability should be the only factors that lead to greatness (with hard work being the more important of the two.)

    I went through three phases : First fight phase (didn't really know about/ care about steroids). Second phase; Bodybuilding, where I was fortunate enough to follow one of the greatest bodybuilders of all time around a gym for 4 years. I never used, but learned a helluva lot about them. Third phase: Back to fighting, where I very quickly realized I was the only one not using.

    Herein lies the problem and grey area: what about what doesn't pop? A prime example of this is HGH or testosterone repalcement therapy. These are naturally occuring chemicals in the body that are difficult to trace. Moreover, anabolics change and evolve everyday. For every fighter or athlete that gets caught, there are a dozen chemists that have redefined the compound to elude testing methods...until they don't. (Circle, rinse, repeat.) It is part of the sport because the CEO/ CFO/ COO's choose for it to be. Think about it this way: If illegal immigrants were shot in the head upon discovery instead of fined and shipped back, would it illegal immagration be a problem?

    Like I said, I'm sure you'll never read this. I stopped writing because I was tired of having the same dozen people read my stuff. The article I'm about to drop brought me back, and I found that I've had over 10k hits to this site (and I haven't touched it in a year). You are obviously intelligent, articulate and educated. I'd love to argue with you on something we don't agree on. Hope to hear from you again.