Mirko ‘Crocop’ Filipovic announced his retirement yesterday. The 44 year old is riding a ten fight winning streak and has not lost an MMA fight since 2013 but recently suffered a stroke.
The Pride, UFC and Rizin veteran discussed his health problems in an emotional TV interview in his native Croatia. Croatia Week carried the following quotes:
“I had a stroke and had bleeding on the brain. I got out of the hospital today and that’s why I wanted to come here to show people I feel good, I had incredible luck with the stroke, the leak could have gone left and right. I had a vein discomfort, it burst from mechanical stimulus. This had nothing to do with fighting, just the neck was overloaded. I have to fight for my life now,” he told the TV station.
Crocop intends to train if possible but says there is absolutely no chance of him competing again,
“It is over, I hope I will not cry, but that is it. Next is inevitable retirement. The next three months I can not train or do anything. Whatever training I am doing, another stroke would be deadly. I’ll be disciplined now, get the medicines I need to take and I’ll be disciplined. I will not go in the ring again. I can not allow that someone hits me. After three months I will train, but just on the boxing bags,” he said.
Just two week’s ago Crocop beat Roy Nelson by decision at Bellator 216. His greatest achievements came in Japan where he won the Pride Open Weight Grand Prix in 2006, the K-1 World Grand Prix in 2012 and the Rizin Open Weight Grand Prix in 2016.
He was legendary for his head kicks but also won a lot of fans with his straightforward style outside of the ring. Crocop always came across as being extremely down to earth despite his legendary status and he will go down in history as being one of the greatest heavyweights of all time.