Making it as a fighter in MMA is no small task. It is an endeavor that requires dedication, skill, sacrifice, and a lot of hard work. Having the last name Mir doesn’t make things any easier.
Larry Mir, cousin of former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir , is a 29-year-old amateur mixed martial artist from Las Vegas, Nevada.
With an amateur record of 2-1, Mir is putting in the blood, sweat and tears to leave his own mark on the sport.
Recently, I have the opportunity to talk with Mir about the pressure of having a famous last name, his training, and his aspirations within the sport.
Robert Gardner: How long have you been involved in the Martial Arts?
Larry Mir: I’ve been involved in the Martial Arts my whole life. I grew up in the Karate school with my cousin. It was in 1998 that I kind of broke off trying to do my own thing, like going to school and what not. Then I came back in like 2001-2002, around that time. Just been hitting it for like three years now, I’ve been training almost full time you could say.
Robert Gardner: So, would you say that Martial Arts have been a big part of your life?
Larry Mir: I would say so. Especially right now, the last three years I have discovered that it is a huge part of my life. I used to just go hang out with my cousin and my family was there at the gym. And, just recently within the last couple of years I’ve realized that it’s a huge part of me.
Robert Gardner: Now Larry, you’re a little bit older than most of the up and coming fighters out there. What has motivated you to take up the sport now?
Larry Mir: I think it is just the desire and the passion to drive myself to compete at a higher level. I’m definitely not doing it for the money of the fame or anything like that because I am an older dude. I kind of established my own little career as a TV news director, so it is more of a how hard and at what level can I challenge myself than a career type move.
Robert Gardner: So it’s more about testing you personally than seeking it out as a long term career?
Larry Mir: Yeah exactly, I honestly think that I will only be able to fight, especially at the pro level, for maybe ten years. If that, because of my late start. It’s more about testing myself to see where I am at.
Robert Gardner: Do you have aspirations to compete at the professional level?
Larry Mir: Yeah, that’s actually a huge goal of mine to get one pro fight. That’s my ultimate goal. Hopefully if these next two amateur fights go well we will be looking to turn pro.
Robert Gardner: With the last name “Mir,” how much added pressure do you feel before you go into a fight?
Larry Mir: All the way up until my first loss in Mesquite (Nevada), I was feeling the pressure. It was my cousin Frank who told me backstage that made me realize that all the pressure that I was feeling was pressure that I put on myself. That just made so much sense to me that night. It didn’t help me win that night but for my last fight here in Las Vegas (Nevada) I had no pressure because I didn’t put any on myself.
I know that people are looking at me different ways and are expecting me to be this stud right off the bat but I really don’t even think about that anymore. I just think about what I have to do to go out there and win. It does add pressure but only if I think about it.
Robert Gardner: Is it pretty important for you to stake your own claim in the sport?
Larry Mir: Definitely! I’ve been telling people I wish my last name was Johnson almost (Laughs).
But having the last name has opened up a lot of doors for me. Being able to train where I am training at, the UFC gym at the Red Rock Casino. That is because of who my cousin is and my last name. Just the opportunities of training with different pros and people who have come in to work with Frank have taken time to work with me.
I know a lot of guys that are just in the gym training, like at Warriors or any of these other gyms; don’t have access and opportunities like that. So, having the last name does have its benefits.
Robert Gardner: As an amateur, how difficult is it for you to balance your training schedule with your career?
Larry Mir: At first it was really tough, but my job at the TV station is pretty lenient on my lunch hours. They give me enough time to get to the gym during lunch break and get back.
It’s not east though, I work full time and I try to train full time, at least twice a day. There are times I wish I could just stay home and sleep all day (laughs). But it’s such a daily routine now and it’s embedded in my body.
It’s normal for me to wake up and train, come home shower, go to work, lunch time go train, go back to work, come home sleep and just do it all over again. I have kind of programmed my body into that mode.
Robert Gardner: What does your training consist of right now?
Larry Mir: Mondays and Wednesdays I’m at Robert Drysdale’s Jiu-jitsu.
Then, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays I’m at the Red Rock Casino doing striking, strength and conditioning, and all that other stuff.
At the end of the month, hopefully, or next month my cousin Frank will be opening up a gym and that will be my home base.
Robert Gardner: Right now, what do you think is the strongest part of your game?
Larry Mir: I think my ground game is pretty sound. I don’t mean my ground as in my jiu-jitsu, just my overall MMA ground game; the jiu-jitsu thrown in with the wrestling and the striking, all of it together.
On the ground, I don’t think that in my weight division (145lbs.) there are going to be any guys as strong or stronger than me. At that size, I really think that if I can get any guy to the ground I can finish the fight there.
Robert Gardner: What’s the biggest area you think you need to work in before you are ready for that next step?
Larry Mir: I think it’s my movement and my footwork. I know that my boxing coach, Richard Vadnais, would like my footwork and my movement to be a little better. But I have come a long way since I started working with him and overall I think my game has elevated quite a bit since my fight in Mesquite (Nevada).
I think it has shown, especially with my mental state. I have overcome those mental demons that I’ve had. My last fight was just like a walk in the park for me. It was like I was there to spar.
Not to take away from anything, I was scared, I was extremely scared. But, I just had the mindset that I was going in there to spar and it was just easy for me.
Robert Gardner: Have you found that putting a lot of focus in to the mental side of the game has really helped you going into your fights?
Larry Mir: Yeah, especially with this last one. I think that what we concentrated more on, getting my mind right. We knew I could strike, we knew I could kick, and we knew I had some decent jiu-jitsu. The question was could I beat myself.
I finally over came that this last fight. I was so worried about people looking at me training thinking what are they saying, if I go out and lose what they are going to say about Frank and about me. I got to the point now where I don’t care. I think that was a huge problem for me. Now that that’s over I just have to skill up.
Robert Gardner: Well Larry, I don’t want to take up too much more of your time. Is there anyone you would like to thank before I let you go?
Larry Mir: I’d like to thank all of my sponsors; Trainersroom.com , Good and Evil Clothing, NOACKFAKA , and Las Vegas Chompers mouth pieces. All of my training partners; Justin Vadnais, Danny Davis, the guys at Striking Unlimited , Jessy Stuart, Armondo Ruiz, and Maurice Senters for all of their help. And, just all of my family and friends for their support.