Mirko Cro Cop announces retirement following severe health problems

SAITAMA, JAPAN - DECEMBER 31: Mirko Cro Cop of Croatia celebrates his TKO victory in the Final bout against Amir Aliakbari of Iran during the RIZIN Fighting World GP 2016 final round at Saitama Super Arena on December 31, 2016 in Saitama, Japan. (Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images)

Mirko Cro Cop announces retirement following severe health problems

Few names in the world of combat sports as a whole are more note-worthy and iconic than Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic.

Arguably the greatest heavyweight athlete in the history of combat sports, Mirko Cro Cop has had a career that spans multiple decades, and the 44-year-old striker confirmed his retirement from fighting today on Nova TV out of Croatia.

At first glance, the reader may see this and think nothing of it. Professional fighters retire all the time, but rarely does it ever last. Hell, Mirko Cro Cop himself retired in 2016 and made his return the next year. He retired years prior to that as well.

But now, in 2019, this retirement was prompted by some serious health concerns. So it appears to be more real than ever before. As he reportedly suffered a stroke following his win two weeks ago vs. Roy Nelson at Bellator 216.

Here is a loose English translation of what he had to say during the retirement announcement. Apologies for any minor errors.

“I’ve fought a long time, but it’s over. I’m not going to cry, but it’s over. This was inevitable.”

“I had a stroke and was bleeding in the brain. I just came out of the hospital today, and that’s why I wanted to come here. I had unbelievable luck in the accident, though. I ripped open a vein in my neck. There was such strain in my neck, but not even from fighting, the neck was just overloaded. The rip happened when I tried to resolve the issue, simply by circling my neck around and stretching, I thought nothing of it. But then I was fighting for my life.” 

“I’ve had this problem with my neck for about three months now. I noticed it while I was driving. I now have to avoid physical contact of any kind for the next three months, let alone something as psychical as training for a fight. Right now I’m taking my medications, staying disciplined. When the three months is up, I can do some lighter work, maybe lift some weights. But another full-on strike to the head could be lethal.”

“Because of that, I will never enter the ring again. I simply cannot get hit in the head anymore. Eventually, I will train again. I will hit the bag, but there is no such thing as the next fight for me. Period.” 

Mirko Cro Cop posted on Instagram before announcing his retirement, and it was a photo of him wearing a hospital wristband that appears to say he was being treated for something epilepsy related.

He then further confirmed his retirement with a captionless photo on his official Facebook page.

With a guy as prolific as Mirko Cro Cop, it’s hard to explain his greatness.

The man has done it all, across both kickboxing and MMA. His list of achievements rivals any other heavyweight in the business.

  • K-1 World Grand-Prix 2012 Final Champion
  • K-1 World Grand-Prix 2000 in Fukuoka Runner-up
  • K-1 World Grand-Prix 1999 Runner-up
  • RIZIN 2019 Openweight Grand-Prix Champion 
  • Undefeated in RIZIN competition
  • IGF Heavyweight Champion
  • Undefeated in IGF competition
  • PRIDE 2006 Openweight World Grand-Prix Champion
  • Most finishes in PRIDE history (tied with Wanderlei Silva)
  • Most first-round finishes in PRIDE history
  • Most kick KO’s in PRIDE history
  • 2nd in both most KO’s and most wins in PRIDE history
  • Most finishes in UFC, PRIDE, WEC, and SF combined history
  • Most first-round finishes in UFC, PRIDE, WEC, and SF combined history
  • Most kick KO’s in UFC, PRIDE, WEC, and SF combined history
  • 2nd most KO’s in UFC, PRIDE, WEC, and SF combined history
  • UFC FOTN 1x vs. Gabriel Gonzaga
  • UFC SOTN 1x vs. Pat Barry
  • 2003 FOTY vs. Nogueira
  • 2005 FOTY vs. Emelianenko
  • 2006 KOTY vs. Silva
  • Undefeated in rematches
  • One of two to win major world titles in both MMA and kickboxing
  • Only MMA fighter to win three grand-prix championships

His list of notable wins, in both MMA and kickboxing, is equally impressive.

  • Roy Nelson
  • Roque Martinez
  • Tsuyoshi Kohsaka
  • Amir Aliakbari
  • King Mo
  • Gabriel Gonzaga
  • Satoshi Ishii
  • Pat Barry
  • Hong Man Choi
  • Josh Barnett
  • Wanderlei Silva
  • Ikuhisa Minowaman
  • Hidehiko Yoshida
  • Mark Coleman
  • Kevin Randleman
  • Alex Emelianenko
  • Igor Vovchanchyn
  • Heath Herring
  • Kazuyuki Fujita
  • Kazushi Sakuraba
  • Jarrell Miller 
  • Ismael Londt
  • Ray Sefo 
  • Bob Sapp 
  • Remy Bonjasky 
  • Mark Hunt 
  • Peter Aerts 
  • Sam Greco 
  • Musashi 
  • Mike Bernardo 
  • Jerome Le Banner

He is an all-time great who, despite being a decade removed from his ‘prime’ retires riding the best win streak of his fighting career, winning ten-straight.

Embed from Getty Images

SAITAMA, JAPAN – DECEMBER 31: Mirko Cro Cop of Croatia celebrates his TKO victory in the Final bout against Amir Aliakbari of Iran during the RIZIN Fighting World GP 2016 final round at Saitama Super Arena on December 31, 2016 in Saitama, Japan. (Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images)

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