Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic might never have tested positive to a United States Anti-Doping Agency drug test, but he will maintain the dubious distinction of being the first UFC fighter sanctioned under the promotion new anti-doping policy.
Cro Cop pulled out of a planned fight with Anthony Hamilton in November due to injury and announced his retirement. A short time later, he was suspended by USADA for anti-doping violations.
“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. 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,” according to the USADA statement announcing his suspension.
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A recent report by Croatian news outlet Vecernji stated that Cro Cop recently received an email from USADA chief Travis Tygart notifying him that his Nov. 4 test indicated “no illicit substances or methods.”
USADA has not yet verified that Cro Cop did not test positive, but did state that regardless of the test results his suspension will not be rescinded because he freely admitted to the use of hGH, which in itself is an anti-doping violation.
“Regardless of whether Mr. Filipovic was actively using a prohibited substance during the time of his test, he admitted to the use, attempted use, and possession of human growth hormone (hGH), which are all violations of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy,” Annie Skinner, a USADA spokesperson, told MMAFighting.com.
“When my shoulder problems started, basic methods like massages and icing the shoulder did not help. Then I went to blood plasma which went straight into my shoulder. With each blood plasma, I had a little mix of growth hormone to make my shoulder heal faster,” admitted in November. “Growth hormones are on the list of banned substances. I knew that already. But there was no other way to save my shoulder–at least in my mind–without combining the blood plasma with growth hormones.”
Filipovic’s career record stands at 31-11-2, 1 NC. Prior to announcing his retirement, the Croatian was on a three-fight winning streak.