Mirko ‘Cro Cop’ Filipovic was scheduled to fight at UFC Fight Night 79: Henderson vs. Masvidal on November 28, 2015, but following an anti-doping test, volunteered that he had taken HGH in an attempt to accelerate recovery from an injury. He retired, and was released from his UFC contract.
He then returned to MMA with the 2016 Rizin Open-Weight Grand Prix tournament.Filipovic tapped Hyun Man Myung in the first round, and knocked out the formidable King Mo to get into the semi-finals. There, in one day, he beat Baruto Kaito with one knee to a 400-pound body, and KOed Amir Aliakbari to win it all.
Crop Cop returned to his native Croatia on Monday and announced his retirement in an interview with Nova TV.
”This is definitely my last tournament,” said Filipovic, via Google translate. “I have health problems and this is definitely the end of my career.”“I know I have announced my retirement before, but this is definitely it”
Cro Cop discussed the pain of training through torn knee ligaments, with destroyed cartilage.
“I never want to go through such hell,” he said. “I gave my best. I know I have announced my retirement before, but this is definitely it.”
”It was a really special moment, it was a festive evening,” said Filipovic of his tournament win. “It was the hardest preparation for me in terms of the training, the most painful because of those injuries that dragged on and still drag on. … As much as this is an individual sport, I would not have succeeded without a team. They all made their contribution to this victory. I thank them from my heart.”
Looking to the future, Filipovic plans to stay in sports, and most immediately looks forward to returning to his hometown of Privlaka and playing cards with old friends.
Inspired initially by Jean-Claude Van Damme’s Bloodsport documentary, Filipovic began training in his garage, where his father had fashioned a heavy bag, and brought home railway track scraps for use in weight lifting.
Cro Cop joined the army in 1994, where he learned to box. He then joined the police, the source of his nickname. He had begun an amateur boxing career, when in 1996 he signed with K-1 as a pro kickboxing, beating Jerome Le Banner in his very first match. Second fight was a loss to Ernesto Hoost. What an introduction!?! He then returned to amateur boxing, enjoying notable success for three years, before returning to K-1.
He started MMA in 2001, vs. Kazuyuki Fujita, and by 2003, stopped kickboxing and did not return until 2012. In 2003 he lost to Big Nog for the PRIDE Interim heavyweight championship in the fight of the year. In 2005 he lost to Fedor Emelianenko for the PRIDE heavyweight championship in the Fight of the Year. Finally, in 2006 he won a major MMA championship, beating Ikuhisa Minowa, Hidehiko Yoshida, Wanderlei Silva, and Josh Barnett to win the PRIDE Openweight Grand Prix.
PRIDE then folded and his contract was assumed by the UFC. There he went 1-2 and was released. Outside the UFC he went 3-0 with one NC, and was back. He went 2-4 his second time in the UFC and was again released. Outside the UFC he went 3-1, and was back in the UFC for the third and final time. There he won a rematch with Gabriel Gonzaga, before being taken down by USADA, retiring, unretiring, fighting again for the “new PRIDE” RIZIN, and now retiring again, for what looks like the final time.