Big John: I waited a decade to see Fedor vs. Mir
The Dean of MMA referees and current Bellator MMA color commentator ‘Big’ John McCarthy appeared recently on MMAjunkie Radio and discussed the Fedor Emelianenko vs. Frank Mir fight in the main event of Bellator 198 on Saturday.
“It’s a fight that I’ve wanted to see for, you’re looking at over 10 years here,” said McCarthy as transcribed by MMAjunkie. “When Fedor won the PRIDE heavyweight title from [Big] Nogueira back in 2003 and then Frank Mir won the UFC title, breaking Tim Sylvia’s arm in 2004, and back then no matter what anyone wants to say, if you remember it and you were really there, PRIDE was saying that it was the best and had the best fighters. A lot of people thought that, and a lot of people put Frank Mir down as the champion and said Fedor would crush him. It was always a fight that you would want to see, and now you get to see it.”
McCarthy will be cageside with Mike Goldberg, but does the miss the best seat in the house – refereeing.
“Any way that I got to see this fight, I would be happy,” he said. “If I was able to referee it, that would be awesome. If I’m able to call it as a commentator, that’s awesome. If I’m just able to watch it as a fan.”
McCarthy is also a BJJ black belt, and worked out with Fedor in 2008.
“The one thing that I got out of that workout session was he was fast, and he was hard to stay with because he was so fast,” said McCarthy. “As a heavyweight, he makes you work at a pace that’s uncomfortable because you’re not used to working with that speed. His hand speed is still, to this day, he has that hand speed. When he decides to explode, he comes at you, and he has power. And his right hand could put anybody out.”
Weighing against Fedor’s speed and power is Mir’s submission game and fight intelligence.
“He’s very astute at the intricacies of the game of, what’s going to set you up to be successful,” said McCarthy. “‘If I place my foot here, and he likes to turn to this angle, then I can come to this.’ … ‘How do I set up my opponent up for him to walk into what I want him to do?’ That’s the Frank Mir you have now. He’s a much different fighter today than he was back when he was the UFC champion in beating Tim Sylvia. He’s much more dangerous everywhere.
“If you get to the ground with him, and he’s on top of you, you’ve got problems. I’m telling you, there’s no fighter out there, none that have done the damage in submissions that Frank Mir has done to people.”
Fedor vs. Mir is the third fight of the opening round of the incredible Bellator Heavyweight World Grand Prix.