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10th Nov 2015

UFC and Pride legend Mirko Cro Cop retires from MMA … again

Right leg - hospital, left leg - cemetery

Darragh Murphy

Retirements in combat sports have to be taken with a grain of salt.

Only too often have fighters hung up the gloves only to have lucrative contracts and the curiosity about whether they still “have it” draw them back into lacing up one last time.

But it certainly sounds like Mirko Cro Cop has called time on his mixed martial arts career.

Pride Grand Prix 2005 - Final Round - Match - August 28, 2005

The UFC heavyweight was scheduled to face Anthony Hamilton in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night 79 in South Korea but announced on Tuesday that a shoulder injury had forced him out of the fight.

In a post on his website, the Croatian striker explained that his body had taken too much damage over the years and the former kickboxer had decided that there was no fight left in him.

“I am aware that I have come to the end of my martial times, but training with pain I want no longer. My body is battered by countless trainings, I collected nine operations, the body has become prone to injury, after each workout I put ice on my knee operated on because it’s filled with fluid, therapies twice a week. The next fight would be 80th professional and that is a lot, especially in the competition: K-1, Pride, IGF, UFC. The biggest problem will be my adaptation to “civilian life”, without two workouts a day and the eternal journey around the world, and that whouldn’t fall so hard. I will train as long as I live because it’s my life, but not at this rate and I’m glad in some way.”

“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 on the health. I had a really long and great career and I believe I left a deep mark in the martial arts, in a free fight and in K-1 and I have no regrets. Thanks to everyone who followed me and supported me, but for me there remains beautiful memories.”

Cro Cop already retired from MMA after being knocked out by Roy Nelson in 2011 before returning to the sport in 2012 and working his way back to a UFC rematch with Gabriel Gonzaga which he won via TKO in April.

If it is the end of his career then we can only wish him well and thank him for the glory days when his left high kick was the most dangerous weapon in mixed martial arts.