Update October 12, 2015 – Cro Cop, in a post on his website, has now admitted to taking banned growth hormone noting as follows –
“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..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”
First Mirko “CroCop” Filipovic announced retirement citing chronic injuries, shortly after the UFC published a press release announcing CroCop “has been provisionally suspended at this time due to a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation.”.
CroCop has become the first known athlete to reportedly have a potential violation in the UFC’s USADA era. So what next?
Unlike many State and Provincial regulatory schemes with fairly sparse rules about anti doping management, the USADA Anti-Doping Policy “ADP” spells due process rights out clearly and even addresses the issue of retirement.
Retirement plays a role but won’t save CroCop from punishment. While the policy does not apply to retired athletes with the ADP coming to an end at “such time as they give notice to UFC in writing of their retirement from competition” retirement does nothing to stop sanctions from being applied to an athlete who had a sample taken from them prior to retirement.
Clause 7.9 of the ADP specifically spells out the following powers after retirement is announced
If an Athlete retires or ceases to be under contract with UFC while USADA is conducting the results management process, including the investigation of any Atypical Finding or Atypical Passport Finding, USADA retains jurisdiction to complete its results management process. If an Athlete retires or ceases to be under contract with UFC before any results management process has begun, and USADA had results management authority over the Athlete at the time the Athlete committed an Anti-Doping Policy Violation, USADA has authority to conduct results management in respect of that Anti-Doping Policy Violation
So where does this leave CroCop? Assuming the alleged violation related to an “adverse finding” (ie doping) he can waive his rights to contest the finding and take the punishment USADA hand out. These sanctions include suspension (likely two years) also include a fine of up to $500,000 at the UFC’s discretion with 10.10 of the ADP providing as follows –
“UFC may impose a fine on an Athlete or other Person who commits an Anti-Doping Policy Violation up to the sum of $500,000 depending on the seriousness of the violation and the relative compensation of the Athlete or other Person”
If CroCop does not waive his rights he can demand testing of the B sample. If this tests negative then “the entire Test shall be considered negative“.
If the B sample is not tested or confirms the initial findings then USADA will issue their punishment and CroCop will have the right to either admit the violation and accept his punishment or contest it and request formal arbitration requiring USADA to prove their allegations on a balance of probabilities.
CroCop has been a pioneer in many ways in MMA with his early career rooted in PRIDE’s “we don’t test for steroids” Era
He now may end his career with the unwelcome distinction as trailblazer for the modern USADA anti-doping era.