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Legendary heavyweight becomes first victim of UFC's new anti-doping policy

USADA are currently handling the case.

Mirko 'Cro Cop' (right) trades punches with Brendan Schaub during their 2011 bout at UFC 128.
Mirko 'Cro Cop' (right) trades punches with Brendan Schaub during their 2011 bout at UFC 128.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

MIRKO ‘CRO COP’ Filipovic has been suspended by the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Just over 24 hours after Cro Cop claimed that he was retiring from mixed martial arts, the UFC have announced that the 41-year-old “has been provisionally suspended at this time due to a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation”.

Earlier this year, MMA’s premier organisation introduced stricter anti-doping rules, which are being administered by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). Cro Cop is the first fighter to have fallen foul of the new policy.

The Croatian, who fought 45 times in total over the course of a 15-year career for the likes of Pride and the UFC, was due to fight Anthony Hamilton at UFC Fight Night 79 in Seoul on 28 November.

On Tuesday, Cro Cop released a statement which said that he had withdrawn from the fight due to a shoulder injury and was subsequently retiring. However, a UFC statement said:

“UFC announced today that a scheduled bout between Mirko Cro Cop and Anthony Hamilton in Seoul, South Korea has been cancelled. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has notified both Mirko Cro Cop and UFC that he has been provisionally suspended at this time due to a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation. USADA, the independent administrator of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, will handle the results management and appropriate adjudication of this case involving Cro Cop. Additional information will be provided at the appropriate time in the process. Hamilton will be booked for a new bout on a card in the near future.”

After a four-year absence, Cro Cop returned to the UFC in April of this year when he avenged a 2007 loss to Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC Fight Night 64 in Krakow.

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Paul Dollery

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