A shoulder injury has forced Mirko Cro Cop out of his UFC Fight Night 79 co-main event slot against Anthony Hamilton. It has also brought an end to the career of Cro Cop.
Cro Cop revealed the injury, and subsequent retirement, on his website, mirkofilipovic.com, early Tuesday. UFC officials have yet to make a formal announcement, and it is currently unknown if a replacement will be sought to fight Hamilton on the November 28 card. That event takes place in Seoul, South Korea and airs on UFC Fight Pass. It is headlined by a five-round welterweight bout between Benson Henderson and Thiago Alves.
"Dear friends, unfortunately I had to cancel the fight in Seoul. In the beginning of the preparation I already hurt my shoulder, so I couldn't raise a hand. I tried to save a shoulder injury and repair in all possible ways: daily therapy, injections of blood plasma and various cocktails of drugs but didn't work out. The only cure would be a break of two to three weeks, and that I could not afford in the midst of final preparations. By daily trainings the injury gets worse. Part of the muscle is snapped, the shoulder is filled with a lot of fluids, and the great danger is that tendon ruptures and then go to operation again," wrote Cro Cop on his website.
Cro Cop has competed in the UFC, PRIDE and K-1 during his combat sports career. He was one of the major stars during the height of PRIDE in Japan, being in numerous high-profile bouts against competitors such as Fedor Emelianenko, Wanderlei Silva, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Josh Barnett. He made his Octagon debut in 2007, but has gone just 5-6 during three UFC stints. If this is the end of his career, he will end it on a high note after scoring a come-from-behind third-round TKO win over Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC Fight Night 64 in April.
The 41-year-old has announced retirements in the past, only to come back to fight again. However, it truly seems like this will be the end of the legendary career of Cro Cop.
"I am aware that I have come to the end of my martial times, but training with pain I want no longer," Cro Cop said in his statement. He continued, "This is not a temporary decision because I was unhappy due to all of that, but it's my final decision and it's best for me. Sooner or later the time comes when a man has to think on the health. I had a really long and great career and I believe I left a deep mark in the martial arts, in a free fight and in K-1 and I have no regrets. Thanks to everyone who followed me and supported me, but for me there remains beautiful memories."
He finishes his career with a 33-11-2 with 1 NC record in MMA, and a 23-8 record in kickboxing.