Pride FC, K-1 and UFC legend Mirko Cro Cop explains why he took human growth hormone before eventually retiring this month….

Fans of world class striker Mirko Cro Cop Filipovic were disappointed to learn that he would be retiring earlier this month. He was booked in to face Anthony Hamilton at UFC Fight Night 79, but reportedly dropped out due to a nagging shoulder injury, then came the news that no-one expected. Cro Cop admitted to using a banned performance enhancing drug in the form of HGH (human growth hormone), revealing he’d failed a random drug test by USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency).

The shocking announcement led fans to speculating behind the real reasons for his retirement, and the famed kickboxer has responded by appearing on The MMA Hour today.

“The UFC offered me a fight in July/August time, but I could not take it. I had an injury in my leg, so I told them I could not fight until October time. Then they offered me the fight in November, and this was OK, but I had taken too much time off. I had too much of a gap between fights. I did not say anything before, but I also injured myself after the Gabriel Gonzaga fight, it was my tendon in my right leg. Training doesn’t make me happy any more, every man comes to his end.”

So according to Cro Cop the injury to his shoulder was the main reason for calling it quits, but why the break in between his retirement and him declaring he’d popped for steroids?

“I didn’t announce that I took some human growth hormone on the advice of a doctor. It takes time, I didn’t have the luxury of time. They came to test me and I told them I took it, they said ‘you didn’t ask for permission.’ But I took it because of the injury, or I wouldn’t have been able to fight. I wouldn’t have been able to wait another six months to fight, I was just not able to make such a long break again. I would have injured myself again. I had a hernia two years ago, I had a long and successful career, but it’s got to stop some day.”

“I would have definitely cancelled that fight (whether they tested me or not) because last time I fought I was seriously injured, it was against Roy Nelson. I was sparring for Nelson against Pat Barry and I threw a hook, then I felt pain in my bicep. I threw another one and felt terrible pain, my bicep and tendon was broken and separated from the bone. It was the last sparring before the fight, and I decided to fight anyway. The doctor said I wouldn’t be able to fight, but I did anyway.I told myself I won’t take the fight unless I am 100% trained, so that’s why I couldn’t fight.”

Do the pieces of the puzzle add up properly here? It’s sad that he’s retired for sure, but do you think the 79-fight veteran is telling this story how it really is? Perhaps it was just too many injuries later in his career but, like Anderson Silva and many others Cro Cop’s late stint as a fighter has been tinted by this saga.

“Fighting regularly was keeping me out of injuries. In 2004-5 I had exactly eight fights, that was perfect for me, just two weeks off between six week camps was the best for my body functions Of course the UFC is different, too many fighters on the roster. I couldn’t take the fight in July/August because of the knee injury, it was when Gonzaga went for the leg lock, and the next morning I wasn’t able to walk properly.”

“This is a violent sport, you leave this sport either from a serious injury or because you get fired for losing too many fights in a row. If I could have finished all three fights on the contract I would have retired after that, but I don’t know many who say goodbye that way. I have no regrets.”

Mirko Cro Cop announces retirement after shoulder injury | Pro MMA Now