There was no grimace or sympathetic nod that pointed to the fact that he just broken another man's appendage. If he was capable of putting himself in Nogueria's shoes, there was no sign of it.
There was no sly smile, cackle, or other tell tale sign of sadism. Cartoonish super villiany we can at least understand. We've seen Abu Gharib and other expressions of the evil in man's soul. Whatever was in Mir's heart, this was no run of the mill brutality.
Worse than a smile or a smirk, there was no expression at all. Mir and announcer Joe Rogan watched the tape roll back and his face was a blank slate. For Frank Mir, there was no emotion. His job is to hurt, to maim if necessary. There was no looking back, no second guessing. In the cage he was remorseless. For opponents, lack of affect the most dangerous emotion of all.
"He's another martial artist I hope he can go back to the gym Monday like everyone else," Mir told Ariel Helwani during the MMA Hour. "I feel bad that he has to go get it repaired, but I don't feel bad it happened. It would be like a quarterback apologizing for scoring a touchdown. If me and Nogueira ever rolled again, I could easily be the one on the receiving end of the Kimura."
Anger is the easiest of emotions to deflect and deflate in the Octagon. Fighters that compete angry, with a chip on their shoulder invariably lose. Maybe not immediately. But over time, that anger leads to clouded judgement, to mistakes.
The singular exception in MMA's long history is the "Axe Murderer" Wanderlei Silva. Silva charged forward like he was perpetually aggrieved, as if every opponent owed him money and had insulted his momma. That wasn't the case with Mir Saturday night.
Yes, he was angry, almost beyond measure. The concentrated media campaign to dismiss his first win over Nogueira, a knockout finish back at UFC 92, had irked the former UFC champion. But there was no anger in the Octagon. Mir approached his business there with clinical professionalism.
In combat there is no room for feelings and grudges. You put the mission before the man - Mir was upset that his triumph had been dismissed. That didn't mean he could afford to fight with anger clouding his mind. That was the path to the darkside, a place countless technicians have found themselves after being suckered into a war with a brawler. For a man like Mir, that's the worst place to be.
Instead, he simply did what he does best. Finished the fight with consummate skill, in the face of extreme danger. We've seen this from Mir before. In his first fight with Brock Lesnar, Mir was in the most dire of straits. The monstrous wrestler was pounding him, looking to cave in his skull. Mir managed to keep his wits and finish the fight with a kneebar.
Nogueira too had Mir's brain trying to call a desperation timeout. Again, he weathered, persevered, and almost immediately regained his bearings and won the fight. It's the stuff champions are made of.
Mir's win adds a jolt of electricity to a moribund UFC heavyweight division. Mir is 7-2 over the last two years and has won three in a row. A matchup with champion Junior dos Santos is a natural - Nogueira is the champ's mentor and you can be certain dos Santos would like nothing more than to avenge his teacher in the cage.
Whoever ends up across from Mir, extreme caution is warranted. Whatever else Frank Mir is, he's a fighter. Punching him in the face might just make him an even more deadly. Just when you think you have him beat, he becomes more dangerous than ever.