Local MMA is taking the next step up as the Tuff-N-Uff organization makes the move from ballrooms at The Orleans to The Cox Pavilion. On the eve of UFC 130, Tuff-N-Uff is serving up a 12-bout fight card for what should be its biggest audience ever.
Tuff-N-Uff Vice President Jeff Meyer explained, “We have entered into a partnership with Justice Entertainment Group. We outgrew the ballrooms and needed a bigger place.
“This partnership has afforded us the opportunity to do a venue of this size and they have a large staff to help with every detail. They have a lot of experience with the entertainment business. It means help with growing our brand and we plan on going to California in the next couple of months and expanding the brand across the country. They also know a lot about the television industry so we’re hoping they can help us get bigger scale broadcast deals.”
As for the move to the larger venue, Meyer said, “The Orleans was so good to us and helped us grow. We would like to be able to go back there and I think the door is open; we might go back to the Arena at some point. The Cox Pavilion is a good mid-sized venue. And most importantly, I believe the Cox Pavilion will offer much better viewing angles for fans.”
One fighter on the card has a very familiar last name. Larry Mir, cousin of UFC fighter Frank Mir, hopes to make a name for himself in his return to the cage.
After a major ankle injury last year, the featherweight fighter is taking on Chris Barden at Friday’s Tuff-N-Uff event. Mir spoke with the Las Vegas Weekly about his recovery from the ankle injury and preparation for his biggest fight to date.
Who are your coaches these days?
I am still training with Richard Vadnais and I started training with Steve Pellegrino out of One Kick’s Gym. I have also been training at Xtreme Couture where I train with Ron Frasier and the guys who coach the amateur team.
Are you going to have to cut weight for this fight? If so, how do you plan to go about that?
Not too much. I’m at the proper point right now. I’ll probably end up cutting about five pounds at most. My head coach Richard Vadnais usually has me hop on the treadmill with the sweat suit on. I’m going to be cutting weight over with Randy’s [Couture] team this time and I’m pretty sure it’s going to be basically the same thing I usually do. I’m just lucky I’m a little guy and I don’t have to cut more than a couple of pounds.
How have you been feeling during this training camp?
Really good. This is the first training camp where I feel mentally and physically that I have done all I can. There are no questions about how I feel mentally and physically. I just know I am so ready for this fight. I’ve never felt this good for a fight.
What have you and your team been really focusing on?
Everything. My all around game. Since my injury, we’ve been focusing more on jiu-jitsu. It’s basically the same type of training to try and make me the best fighter I can be.
How long has it been since your ankle injury?
August 13 of last year. This will be my first fight back. My last fight was April 23 of last year. A lot of people have been saying, “Hey man, you’ve been out for a year.” I have been out for a year but I’ve been training my ass off for a year. There’s no question about the strength of my ankle or how the recovery went. It’s one hundred and twenty percent better than it ever was.
How long were you out after your injury?
I was out for maybe three or four weeks and then I got the cast on. I was still going to the gym lifting weights and doing upper body stuff but as soon as I got the walking boot, I was putting a pad over it and trying to do jiu-jitsu with it. None of the guys would want to roll with me because even with the pad, the cast would scrape their legs up. I gave a guy a big bruise on his head because my cast hit him while he was rolling. I’m not a spectator. I couldn’t sit there and watch everyone train. I had to do it.
What has been the most difficult part of training after the injury?
At first, obviously anything with having to put weight on my leg. It was really difficult to run and jump rope. It took another four weeks to be able to get where I could walk on it without a limp, after we removed the cast. I don’t even notice that I had the injury now.
Which aspect of your game do you think has improved the most since your last fight?
I think definitely my hands and my willingness to come forward. I used to be scared and not aggressive but I have become a lot more of an aggressive fighter now. All my other fights I’ve always backed up and now I come forward a lot. I’m not afraid to get hit. I am a hundred and twenty times more aggressive than I’ve ever been and I think people are going to see that this Friday.
On Saturday night, will you be attending UFC 130 to support your cousin Frank?
I plan on it. I’m always going to show him support. He could call me up tomorrow and I would give him the shirt off my back if he needed it, but it probably wouldn’t fit him.
Last time I spoke with you, you had your first post-fight meal all planned out down to the combination number at Del Taco. Any plans for your first meal this time around?
All-you-can-eat sushi. Garlic tuna, caterpillar rolls. I like to go to Sushi in Summerlin. That’s my favorite spot.
How do you feel about Tuff-N-Uff moving from The Orleans to The Cox Pavilion?
It is such a huge honor to be able to fight where Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar had their fight [at the first Ultimate Fighter finale]. They speak so much about how that fight put MMA in the mainstream. It’s such a big honor to be able to fight where the greats have fought.