One of MMA’s Legendary Figures Has Been Forced to Step Away From the Sport… Mirko Cro-Cop Has Suffered a Stroke and Will be Unable to Compete Again…
The very sad news has broken that the legendary heavyweight Mirko Filipovic, best known as Cro-Cop, has finally been forced to retire after he was hospitalized following a stroke. The Croatian martial artist is best known for his performances under the PRIDE banner. He has also fought for the UFC, RIZIN, K-1 and Bellator.
Amongst his many accolades are the 2006 PRIDE Openweight Championship and the 2016 RIZIN Openweight championship. He’s also a former k-1 World Champion and IGF world champion. Cro-Cop’s nickname comes from ‘Croatian Cop.’ That’s a reference to his membership of an elite anti-terrorist unit in his home country.
It’s the end of the road for ‘Cro-Cop’ in the ring though. While he is fortunate in that he should recover from the stroke, he cannot risk being punched in the head again and sustaining any more trauma.
While he never hit the heights in the UFC, he’s still an iconic figure in the mixed martial arts community. Amongst his many victims are Wanderlei Silva, Josh Barnett, Gabriel Gonzaga, and, only a couple of weeks ago, Roy Nelson. It is believed (first reported by MMA Junkie) that Cro-Cop first suffered a neck injury before the Nelson fight and may have had a seizure. However, he still went through with that one, grinding out a decision win. He told Nova TV:
“I will never enter the ring again. I cannot let anyone hit me. I have to have (an MRI) in three months, (and) after that I will train again, boxing bags, but there is no such thing as a fight.”
It’s a sad way for a warrior like him to have to end his career, but at the age of 44, you could say that he should have stepped away from the game a long time ago.
Cro-Cop has fought 52 times in MMA, with 38 wins and 11 losses. To be fair his last ten fights have all been victories, showing that he’s still got a winning mentality and able to hang with much younger fighters – albeit mostly under the RIZIN label. His last three appearances in the UFC were between 2010-11 when he was knocked out three times by Frank Mir, Roy Nelson and Brendan Schaub.
Famed for his sprawl-and-brawl style of fighting, his left roundhouse kick was absolutely notorious. 4 of his 28 knockout wins came by head kick alone. Always a stand-up fighter, he did his best to avoid being taken to the ground with a signature left side-step.
With his distinctive shorts, checkered red and white in the colours of Croatia, Cro-Cop cut an iconic figure. The man is truly a warrior. As well as his 52 MMA fights, he also fought 38 professional kickboxing bouts. That’s a lot of striking. The likes of Demetrious Johnson have in the past cited Cro-Cop as an inspiration.
We wish him the best in his retirement and hope he makes a full recovery from the stroke.