Mirko Cro Cop is calling it a career after suffering a stroke following his most recent victory at Bellator 216 over Roy Nelson.
The legendary kickboxer turned mixed martial artist revealed that he suffered the stroke in the aftermath of his last fight but the medical condition had nothing to do with his three round battle against Nelson.
Instead, the Croatian superstar says that it was an undiagnosed problem that he first recognized from neck pain in the lead up to his fight and after returning home, he landed in the hospital after suffering the stroke.
“I had a stroke and had bleeding on the brain,” Cro Cop explained on Croatian Nova TV on Friday (translation courtesy of Croatia Week) “I got out of the hospital today and that’s why I wanted to come here to show people I feel good, I had incredible luck with the stroke, the leak could have gone left and right. I had a vein discomfort, it burst from mechanical stimulus.
“This had nothing to do with fighting, just the neck was overloaded. I have to fight for my life now.”
In the aftermath of such a scary moment, Cro Cop said he had no other choice but to retire or risk further damage or even death if he stepped back into the cage again.
“It is over, I hope I will not cry, but that is it. Next is inevitable retirement,” Cro Cop stated.
“The next three months I cannot train or do anything. Whatever training I am doing, another stroke would be deadly. I’ll be disciplined now, get the medicines I need to take and I’ll be disciplined. I will not go in the ring again. I cannot allow that someone hits me.”
Throughout his career, Cro Cop built a reputation as one of the most vicious knockout strikers in the history of the sport.
After starting out his combat sports career in kickboxing, Cro Cop eventually transitioned to mixed martial arts where he made waves as part of PRIDE Fighting Championship.
During his time in Japan as part of PRIDE, Cro Cop racked up several highlight reel victories including knockouts against Heath Herring, Mark Coleman, Wanderlei Silva, and Josh Barnett.
Cro Cop also engaged in an epic battle against Fedor Emelianenko in 2005 that is still widely regarded as one of the best heavyweight fights in history.
Following his career in PRIDE, Cro Cop eventually made his way to the UFC, although he never found the same level of success. He ended his run with the UFC after going 5-6 through three different stints with the promotion.
Cro Cop actually retired previously but ended up making his way back to the cage for several more fights and he closed out his career on an impressive 10 fight win streak including a knockout against Gabriel Gonzaga in the UFC as well as his last bout against Nelson just a couple of weeks ago in February.
Cro Cop retires with a 38-11-2, 1 no contest record in mixed martial arts as well as a 26-8 record in kickboxing.
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