Mirko Cro Cop
Announces retirement
HeavyweightBellator
March 1, 2019
Cro Cop has announced his retirement after suffering a stroke as a consequence of his most recent fight, Ariel Helwani of ESPN reports.
ANALYSIS
Cro Cop has already retired once in his career, back in January of 2017, but this time seems like it will be more permanent given the state of his health. The doctors have told him that any more hits to his head would be extremely dangerous after he suffered a stroke since his last fight, so the Croatian is forced to hang up his gloves. He'll end his career with a 38-11-2 (1NC) record and is expected to be okay despite his recent health scares.
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Adds bout against Roy Nelson
HeavyweightBellator
December 7, 2018
Cro Cop is set to face Roy Nelson at Bellator 217 on Feb. 16, Dave Doyle of MMAFighting.com reports.
ANALYSIS
Cro Cop was initially slated to take on Nelson at Bellator 200 this past summer but was forced to withdraw due to a leg injury. He was able to get back into the ring in September, besting Roque Martinez in RIZIN and will now make his debut under the Bellator banner. Nelson is coming off a pair of losses and sits at 1-2 in the promotion with a win over Javy Ayala in 2017.
Set to compete for Rizin in September
HeavyweightBellator
September 5, 2018
Cro Cop (leg) will return to MMA in a heavyweight matchup against Roque Martinez at Rizin 13 on Sept. 30, BJPenn.com reports.
ANALYSIS
Cro Cop was last scheduled to appear under the Bellator banner, but withdrew from a matchup against Roy Nelson due to a leg injury. With what he called "a very bad injury" now behind him, Cro Cop will now help set the stage for kickboxing main and co-main events. While his contract details for Bellator remain murky, he'll return to the promotion where he gathered five consecutive wins from 2016 to 2017. It's unclear if fight fans will get to see one of the greatest heavyweights of all-time fighting in the United States again prior to his retirement.
Out of Bellator 200 with injury
HeavyweightBellator
May 21, 2018
Cro Cop has withdrawn from his headline fight with Roy Nelson for Friday's Bellator 200 in London due to an undisclosed leg injury, Gareth A. Davies of The Telegraph reports.
ANALYSIS
With the Croatian fighter's Bellator debut now delayed by the injury, it's expected that the middleweight title fight between Rafael Carvalho and Gegard Mousasi will now replace Cro Cop-Nelson as the main event. Meanwhile, the promotion is still searching for a replacement fighter to match up against Nelson for the card. The severity of Cro Cop's injury still isn't known, so it remains difficult to forecast when he'll be ready to return to the cage.
Retires following Rizin tournament victory
HeavyweightBellator
January 9, 2017
Cro Cop, who recently capped off a Rizin openweight grand prix title with a victory over Amir Aliakbari, announced his retirement from MMA on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani on Monday afternoon.
ANALYSIS
Cro Cop plans to undergo surgery to address swelling in his knee, but did leave the door open for a "farewell bout" if the 42-year-old manages to make a full recovery. The former UFC heavyweight recently fought three times in two days to cap off his victory in the Japan-based tournament, with each of his four victories in that four victories in that event coming via stoppage. Although his legacy may be tainted by a USADA violation that led to him parting ways with the UFC, there's no questioning his place in MMA history. He fought professionally 49 times since starting his career in 2001, finishing with a 35-11-2 record (1 NC).
Advances to Rizin Grand Prix semifinal
HeavyweightBellator
December 29, 2016
Cro Cop defeated Muhammad Lawal via TKO (punches) at 1:41 of Round 2 at the Rizin Fighting World Grand Prix on Thursday.
ANALYSIS
Cro Cop got past Hyun Man Myung via submission (arm-triangle choke) in the opening round, and his victory over "King Mo" will punch his ticket to the semifinals, where Baruto Kaito awaits. Lawal is quite possibly his most impressive victory in the last five years, as he is a top light heavyweight contender under the Bellator banner. The 42-year-old Croatian's success overseas doesn't necessarily mean he'll be heading to the states anytime soon, as he was released from his UFC contract in last July, eight months after a reported USADA violation.