One of mixed martial arts’ greatest heavyweights of all time is calling it a career.
Mirko Filipovic, a former Croatian military police officer that adopted a fitting nickname in “Cro Cop,” announced his decision to retire in a message posted to his official website Tuesday morning.
“Dear friends, unfortunately I had to cancel the fight [against Anthony Hamilton at UFC Fight Night “Henderson vs. Alves”]. In the beginning of the preparation I hurt my shoulder, so I couldn't raise [my] hand. I tried to save a shoulder injury and repair in all possible ways: daily therapy, injections of blood plasma and various cocktails of drugs but it didn't work out. The only cure would be a break of two to three weeks, and that I could not afford in the midst of final preparations. By daily trainings the injury got worse. Part of the muscle is snapped, the shoulder is filled with a lot of fluids, and the great danger is that tendon ruptures and then go to operation again.
“I don't need that, especially at my age,” said Filipovic, 41. “The next fight would my 80th as a professional and that is a lot, especially in competition: K-1, Pride, IGF, UFC.
“This is not a temporary decision because I was unhappy due to all of that, but it's my final decision and it's best for me. Sooner or later the time comes when a man has to think [of his] health. I had a really long and great career and I believe I left a deep mark in martial arts, in [MMA] and in K-1 so I have no regrets. Thanks to everyone who followed me and supported me, but for me there remains beautiful memories.”
Filipovic, known for his vicious head kicks, will exit the game with a 31-11-2 (1 NC) professional record. The Pride Fighting Championships 2006 Absolute Grand Prix champion scored a staggering total of 23 knockouts in his career, including some of the sport’s most memorable finishes.