Mirko Cro Cop admits to human growth hormone use to aid shoulder recovery

By Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

Mirko Cro Cop

Mirko Cro Cop is admitting to using human growth hormone to aid the recovery of his shoulder injury, and says it was his own admission to the UFC and USADA when they came to take a sample that has led to the comments made by the organization on Wednesday.

In a post on his official site, Cro Cop claims that he isn’t aware of an actual failed test, but that he told the USADA collectors and the UFC what he had taken. He’s unsure why they then suspended him after he’d already announced his retirement, but believes they’re simply trying to protect their own interests.

Here’s his full latest comments on the matter:

I might be the first fighter who has ever been suspended after retirement. Maybe they think it is good for them to sanction someone that is well known. As you all know, the UFC has a deal with the USADA, an anti doping agency, who now tests all fighters.

Every fighter has to fill up questionnaires for the USADA “whereabouts” system. Like all the other fighters, I also had to fill out the questionnaire so they knew where to come and test me.

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.

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.

Unfortunately it turns out the only cure was a good break and rest. But a desperate man will try anything.

After 6 days of growth hormone and plasma injections, the USADA came to test me. I gave them my blood sample and urine samples and immediately told the UFC about the test. I also said that I had been taking blood plasma and growth hormone since nothing else was working.

I wanted to have this fight, at any cost. I knew if I didn’t have the fight after an 8 month layoff, it was the end for me. I could not afford to wait 5 or 6 more months to fight.

The test results are not even finished, and I’m not even sure if they are going to find anything because I used the treatment for a few days to recover my shoulder and fight, that’s it. Now they have given me some kind of suspension because I told them myself that I have been getting the treatment, and to top it all of I pulled out of the fight.

It is stupid to even mention that the hormone only heals the body and that the dosages can probably only be detected for a few (10) days. I would be perfectly clean until the fight.

It did not make me any better or increase my performance like testosterone or anabolic steroids would, but those are the rules. On Friday I was still telling them to not cancel the fight and that I wanted to fight because of all the hard work I had done.

I told them I will go to the USADA and tell them what is going on, and I was willing to get a lot of tests before and after the fight and everything would be OK.

I was tested 5 different times up to this point in the UFC, the last time after the Gonzaga fight, and each time the test results were clear.

Saturday training was the last one that I had with preparations in mind, which is when my shoulder “broke” its limit. The MRI showed on Monday that it was a ruptured muscle and damaged tendons, filled with liquid.

And that is when I broke and made my decision.

This calling out and suspensions have no meaning anymore, but I do understand the UFC; I get it. They just want to defend themselves.

Now it will come out that I was taking illegal substances or doping or something, but it is not like that. Now it is what it is; God forbid there is no more trouble.

Penick’s Analysis: The reason things like HGH and other drugs in that line are banned is specifically because they help recovery faster, and the idea is that those using can then train harder and longer while using those drugs because their body will recover quicker to allow that. Cro Cop is trying to explain it away after the fact, but he knowingly took a banned substance, and that’s just the facts here, unfortunately. Now, it’s a little pointless to announce the suspension after he’s retired already, but if there’s something there, there’s something there.

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