THURSDAY NEWS DIGEST 2/14: Roy Nelson skeptical of Mirko Cro Cop’s recovery from injury, wants to see drug test results before Saturday fight

By Michael Hiscoe, Managing Editor

Roy Nelson
Roy Nelson (photo credit Joshua Dahl © USA Today Sports)

Good Doctor

Roy Nelson has always been a fighter that likes to see an even playing field. During his season coaching “The Ultimate Fighter” opposite Shane Carwin, Nelson was convinced one of Carwin’s fighters didn’t make weight, despite the reading on the scale indicating otherwise, and wasn’t shy about raising this concern to the commission official and UFC president Dana White.

Just days ahead of his Bellator 216 fight with Mirko Cro Cop, Nelson is expressing concerns over the quick recovery the 44-year-old Cro Cop has shown since knee surgery last year.

“When he pulled out of my fight [last May], he had a fight, he had knee surgery, he had rehab, and he was able to come back in three or four months,” Nelson told MMAJunkie. “I think his docs need to come over here for the NFL and some of these guys that get messed-up knees, they could be back in a week.”

Nelson and Cro Cop were slated to fight last May but Cro Cop pulled out to take care of the knee injury and went on to fight and win for RIZIN in Japan in September. The first round TKO over Roque Martinez was his ninth straight victory.

Nelson is hoping that results of pre-fight drug testing come in before Saturday night, presumably so that if Cro Cop is using PED’s, something he has admitted to openly in the past, that it gets flagged before they have to fight.

“They pulled me an extra day early just to do a pee test,” Nelson said. “I hope the results come back before the fight because if it doesn’t come back before the fight, I don’t even know why they did the test. Wasted resources.”

Chances are the results won’t come in and the fight will happen. Nelson may be best served to focus on the task at hand rather than worry about what his opponent may or may not be doing.


UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker wasn’t too offended by Kelvin Gastelum walking around at UFC 224 last weekend with a UFC championship belt over his shoulder. In fact, he found it amusing.

“I thought it was cute,” Whittaker said on his YouTube page (transcribed by MMAFighting). “You know when your kid finds your work belt at home and then he starts wearing it around the house? That’s kind of how I saw the whole thing. It was adorable.”

Regarding the circumstances that led him to pull out of his scheduled fight with Gastelum, Whittaker hated the timing of it, but he’s hoping to come back as soon as possible.

“I’m gutted. I wanted to fight, I did all the work. I got sick after the weigh in! Can someone explain to me why I would go through the whole process of cutting weight and weighing in and then not fight? That is the worst outcome. It couldn’t have happened a day earlier? It is what is. I want to fight, I’m going to fight soon enough, and when I fight it will be glorious.”

Thursday Notebook

-Everyone made weight for Bellator 215 tomorrow.

-Artem Lobov has signed on with Bare Knuckle FC for a three-fight deal and will be free to pursue MMA opportunities. His first bare-knuckle fight will be against Jason Knight in April.

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