While preparing for his fight against Anthony Hamilton in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night 79, Mirko Cro Cop injured his shoulder and through a message on Facebook announced his retirement. However, just one day after this announcement, the UFC announced that he was suspended by USADA, which has sparked speculation about what he wrote on Facebook about being injured. Cro Cop then admitted to taking growth hormone in a Facebook post.
USAD announced on Wednesday that Cro Cop has been suspended for two years.
“Filipovic, 41, admitted to the use, attempted use, and possession of human growth hormone (‘hGH’) following an out-of-competition test conducted on November 4, 2015 in Zagreb, Croatia,” USADA wrote in a statement. “On the day he was tested, prior to any results being reported, Filipovic contacted the UFC to advise them that he had been using hGH in violation of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy. Thereafter, on November 9, 2015, Filipovic admitted to USADA as well that he had been using the prohibited substance.
“Human growth hormone is a Prohibited Substance in the class of Peptide Hormones, Growth Factors and Related Substances under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy. Due to Filipovic’s prompt admission of his anti-doping policy violations, he avoided the imposition of a four-year sanction, as permitted under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy where aggravating circumstances are present.”
Added USADA CEO Travis Tygart, ““Ultimately, our goals are to keep the Octagon clean and to protect the rights of clean athletes within the UFC. Not only do athletes need to consider their health and safety when it comes to the use of prohibited substances, but also the damage that such use can inflict on their own legacy.”
The UFC released a statement of their own in recognition of USADA’s determination:
“UFC recognizes the two-year sanction issued today to Mirko Cro Cop by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) for violations of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.
UFC secured the services of USADA, a third-party agency, earlier this year to administer its Anti-Doping Policy to ensure that all athletes compete on an even playing field, free of performance enhancing drugs. UFC appreciates Cro Cop’s disclosure and admission of usage of a prohibited substance, and supports the issuance of necessary sanctions to maintain a clean sport.
Cro Cop has subsequently announced his retirement from the sport after a storied career. UFC recognizes his accomplishments in the sport of mixed martial arts and wishes him well in future endeavors.”