Mirko Filipovic has officially been suspended two years by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency for his use of human growth hormone prior to a scheduled bout against Anthony Hamilton at UFC Fight Night in South Korea.
“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,” a statement from USADA read. “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.”
Because he admitted to using HGH, “Cro Cop” avoided a potential four-year suspension, according to the statement. Filipovic’s suspension will be retroactive to Nov. 9. He is the first fighter to be suspended by USADA since the UFC contracted the organization to handle its drug testing.
“Ultimately, our goals are to keep the Octagon clean and to protect the rights of clean athletes within the UFC,” USADA CEO Travis Tygart said. “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 popular heavyweight announced his retirement earlier this month due to a shoulder injury that forced him to pull out of the proposed clash with Hamilton. Shortly thereafter, the UFC revealed that Filipovic had been provisionally suspended by USADA for a potential anti-doping violation. The Pride Fighting Championships veteran maintains that he retired due to the injury, not because of the suspension.
The Las Vegas-based promotion acknowledged the sanction in a statement on Wednesday.
“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,” the statement read.
“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.”