USADA issues two year sanction to Mirko Cro Cop over admitted HGH use; UFC issues statement

By Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

Mirko Cro Cop

Mirko Cro Cop has been hit with a two year sanction from USADA following his admitted use of human growth hormone (HGH).

USADA announced the sanctions on Friday, citing Cro Cop’s personal admittance to the substance after a random drug test conducted on Nov. 4. News of the potential issue came out after Cro Cop publicly announced his retirement and pulled out of a fight on Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 79 event, though USADA contends their inquiry began prior to his retirement.

“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,” USADA wrote in a statement. “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.

“Human growth hormone is a Prohibited Substance in the class of Peptide Hormones, Growth Factors and Related Substances under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy. Due to Filipovic’s prompt admission of his anti-doping policy violations, he avoided the imposition of a four-year sanction, as permitted under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy where aggravating circumstances are present.”

Added USADA CEO Travis Tygart, ““Ultimately, our goals are to keep the Octagon clean and to protect the rights of clean athletes within the UFC. Not only do athletes need to consider their health and safety when it comes to the use of prohibited substances, but also the damage that such use can inflict on their own legacy.”

The UFC released a statement of their own in recognition of USADA’s determination:

“UFC recognizes the two-year sanction issued today to Mirko Cro Cop by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) for violations of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.

UFC secured the services of USADA, a third-party agency, earlier this year to administer its Anti-Doping Policy to ensure that all athletes compete on an even playing field, free of performance enhancing drugs. UFC appreciates Cro Cop’s disclosure and admission of usage of a prohibited substance, and supports the issuance of necessary sanctions to maintain a clean sport.

Cro Cop has subsequently announced his retirement from the sport after a storied career. UFC recognizes his accomplishments in the sport of mixed martial arts and wishes him well in future endeavors.”

Penick’s Analysis: This is an expected development. Cro Cop flat out admitting he used HGH meant that a suspension was coming, not that it means much with him already retiring, but it certainly makes him stick to that retirement. At least for the next two years. It’s an unfortunate cap to his career, but it really isn’t all that surprising.

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