by:  Jack Bratcher

Tonight (Fri. Sept. 12), The Ultimate Fighter Coaches Countdown show aired on Spike TV.  The point of the show was to give people an overview of Frank Mir and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, the coaches of the eighth season of The Ultimate Fighter, which debuts Wed. Sept. 17 at 9pm CST/7pm PST.

It is evident that Frank Mir has enormous respect for Nogueira and referred to him as one of his “heroes.”  He also said that he would not disrespect one of his “idols” by stepping into the cage any less than one-hundred percent prepared.

Nogueira also showed respect for the younger Mir, calling him “a very talented kid.”

One of the most interesting aspects of the Mir/Nogueira fight is that we have PRIDE’s top submission heavyweight facing the UFC’s top submission heavyweight.  Even though PRIDE is no more, this is still one of those big fights we never could have seen just a couple of years ago.

When asked how he matches up to the PRIDE champion, Mir says Nog is not very agile, he’s slow in setting things up and he’s not explosive.  Nogueira responds by saying he will beat Mir in the 4th round once Mir is tired.  Obviously this means he does not think too much of Frank Mir’s cardio.  That’s interesting coming from a man with a damaged lung (see below).  Nogueira feels his hands are faster than Mir and he also feels he will be stronger than Mir.

Dana White recalls how fast Mir skyrocketed to stardom in the UFC.  Then he had the terrible car accident.  After that Dana thought Mir was done once he saw his first couple of performances.  Mentally, “Frank Mir was not there anymore,” according to the UFC president.

Doctors told Frank Mir he may never walk again and that his days of mixed martial arts training were over.  Frank Mir admits there were times he even regretted surviving the car accident.  However, Mir goes on to say that it was the emails from fans that saved him.  When he read about the hardships other people survived, such as soldiers who lost their limbs in Iraq and then these people were writing to him with words of encouragement and he at least still had his legs, that really hit home for Frank Mir.  Defying medical predictions, not only did Mir begin walking again, but he began training again.

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Frank Mir’s lives parallel in more ways than just being two heavyweights known for their submission skills.  Nogueira also lived through a terrible accident, his even more severe than Mir’s.  He was eleven years old when someone accidentally knocked a large truck into gear, it rolled backwards in reverse, knocked Nogueira down and rolled over his body.  It crushed him and punctured a lung.  He was in a coma for three days and in the hospital for eleven months.

The format for this season of The Ultimate Fighter will be the same as last season in which 32 fighters must fight each other and the 16 winners get into the house.

Frank Mir is the blue team.  Nogueira is the red team.

Even though results of the show are locked up like Fort Knox, one secret sneak peak did leak.  We got to see a scene that showed Nogueira being upset when one of Mir’s fighters beat one of his fighters.  Apparently Nogueira is very competitive and was visibly and verbally upset that his fighter lost.  This at least tells us that this season of The Ultimate Fighter will not be a shut out.

Frank Mir wants people to remember that he never lost the UFC Heavyweight Title.

Nogueira vs. Mir will be a fight between the two greatest heavyweight ground fighters in the UFC.
Dana said this is one fight the fans would not mind if both fighters started out sitting on their butts and just scooted out to the center of the cage.

Once this season of The Ultimate Fighter is complete, these two coaches will battle for the UFC interim Heavyweight Title.  Then the winner of that fight gets the reward of taking on the winner of Randy Couture and Brock Lesnar.  What we have here is a mini-heavyweight UFC tournament to decide who is the greatest Heavyweight Champion in the world minus Fedor Emelianenko.

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