While there were many that feared a crushed orbital or cheekbone as the reason for Mirko’s early resignation in his UFC 103 bout with Junior dos Santos this past weekend, in a recent interview with the Croatian newspaper Jutarnji, Cro Cop cited a mixture of blood and sweat flowing into his eye as the reason for calling it quits in the third round of the match-up, explaining, “Dos Santos cut my eye lid. Blood and sweat gave me a narrow field of vision. I stood like a blind man, I’m in a cage. At one point at the end of the fight I thought the referee was my opponent. Later it turned out that I cut the inside wall of my eyelid. In the locker room I was given four sutures”
A cut may be the reason Filipovic is giving for bowing out of the contest, but he will be the first to admit that the true reason for his lackluster performance runs much deeper than the gash that tattooed his eyelid following the bout.
“This was not the kind of performance the public pay for,” admitted Cro Cop. “I don’t feel the hunger anymore. I have started playing it safe, I’m not prepared to take risks.”
“I’ve been living a military life for 20 years now. Getting up at 6 am and working hard physically until 8 p.m. I want a normal life. I’m entering a cage and thinking about fishing in Privlaka. You can’t win that way. Maybe I should have quit after I won the [PRIDE FC] Open Weight Grand Prix.”
The word around the campfire is that the former PRIDE champion is a wrap. A done deal when it comes to performing at the highest level of the game, and if you asked Mirko, he’d be hard pressed to argue with you, stating, “Maybe the ones who have said that I’m done are right. Obviously, I can’t break my mental block in the Octagon. I have twenty years of training like a spartan behind me. It has caught up with me, my body is broken down. I’ve been worn out.”
If this is really the end of the road for Cro Cop, it is a sad day for the world of mixed martial arts. Hopefully history will look back on Filipovic in the future and give him the credit he is due for increasing the popularity of this great sport when it needed it the most.
Thank you Mirko.