As reported by MixedMartialArts.com, the UFC has released Mirko “CroCop” Filipovic.
Filipovic admitted to out of competition use of HGH shortly after being subject to USADA testing and earned the distinction of being the first fighter to be sanctioned under the UFC’s/USADA anti doping regime. USADA hit Filipovic with a 2 year period of “ineligibility”.
Interestingly, the UFC agreed to his contractual release but noted that they have no power to terminate his USADA sanctions with the following press release:
Former heavyweight contender Mirko Cro Cop announced his retirement from the sport of MMA in November, and recently requested that the remaining bouts in his promotional agreement with the UFC organization be terminated. UFC agreed to terminate the remaining bouts in the promotional agreement, however, Cro Cop was advised that UFC does not have any power to reduce or terminate the sanctions imposed by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency pursuant to the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.
Filipovic is scheduled to fight for Japanese MMA promotion RIZIN. So what does all this mean? Apparently very little.
The UFC USADA Anti Doping Policy reads as follows with respect to fighters competing while ineligible:
No Athlete or other Person who has been declared Ineligible may, during the period of Ineligibility, participate in any capacity in connection with a UFC Bout, or any match or competition sanctioned or licensed by an Athletic Commission, or participate in any capacity in a competition or activity (other than authorized anti-doping education or rehabilitation programs) authorized or organized by any Signatory, Signatory’s member organization, or a club or other member organization of a Signatory’s member organization.
Competing in RIZIN, with the UFC’s blessing in the form of a contractual release, will not violate the 2 year USADA ban as it is neither
- a UFC bout
- a bout sanctioned by an Athletic Commission as Japan has no government regulation of MMA
- nor is the bout organized “by any Signatory, Signatory’s member organization, or a club or other member organization of a Signatory’s member organization
This move, while perhaps generous to Filipovic’s ability to earn a living, is questionable during a time where many high profile doping stories are surrounding the UFC.