Following USADA’s announcement that Mirko Cro Cop has been suspended on suspicion of failing a drug test, coming just days after the 41 year-old abruptly announced his retirement, the veteran fighter has now revealed that he had been using an illegal substance in the build-up to his next fight.
According to Cro Cop in a statement on his own website he says he has been using Human Growth Hormone to help heal a shoulder injury quick so that he could still fight Anthony Hamilton at UFC Fight Night 79 in South Korea later this month.
Cro Cop says that the illegal substance wouldn’t have given him a competitive advantage, but as it turned out it didn’t fix his shoulder either as he further aggravated the injury this past weekend which he claims is the real reason he simultaneously pulled out of his fight and announced his retirement.
The UFC, PRIDE and K-1 star also reveals that he actually informed the UFC personally that he had taken HGH after being tested by USADA last week and says he believes that’s the reason he’s been suspended.
Despite the suspicious timing of his sudden retirement, Cro Cop also still maintains that the decision was not linked to his suspension which came a day later.
Read Cro Cop’s full statement below.
“First day retired and I already have my first problems.
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.”