Iconic mixed martial arts and kickboxing veteran Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic has been forced to withdraw from a scheduled UFC bout on Nov. 28 thanks to injury and has subsequently announced his retirement.
Filipovic (31-11) broke the news on social media early Tuesday. He had been scheduled to fight Anthony Hamilton at UFC Fight Night later this month in Seoul, South Korea, but suffered a shoulder injury. The 41-year-old Croatian referred to his retirement as "final."
"This is not a temporary decision because I was unhappy due to [the injury]," Filipovic wrote. "It's my final decision and it's best for me. Sooner or later, the time comes when a man has to think on the health. I had a really long and great career and I believe I left a deep mark in the martial arts. I have no regrets."
Filipovic publicly hinted at a retirement from combat sports in 2011 following a knockout loss to Roy Nelson at UFC 137. He continued to compete in kickboxing, however, and returned to MMA in late 2012 in Tokyo. He re-signed with the UFC earlier this year and recorded a third-round TKO win against Gabriel Gonzaga.
A former open-weight grand prix champion in PRIDE, Filipovic said he's essentially spent the past few years of his career in and out of injury rehab. In addition to his 44 professional MMA fights, Filipovic competed in 31 pro kickboxing matches. He retires with 23 wins by knockout in MMA.
"I tried to save a shoulder injury and repair in all possible ways: daily therapy, injections of blood plasma and various cocktails of drugs, but [it] didn't work out," Filipovic said. "The only cure would be a break of two to three weeks, and that I could not afford in the midst of final preparations.
"I am aware that I have come to the end of my martial times, but training with pain I want no longer. My body is battered by countless trainings. I collected nine operations; the body has become prone to injury."
A heavyweight, Filipovic retires having fought the who's who of his era. His list of opponents includes Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Josh Barnett, Mark Coleman, Fedor Emelianenko, Mark Hunt, Alistair Overeem, Junior dos Santos and Frank Mir.
The UFC has not yet announced a replacement for Filipovic or whether Hamilton will remain on the UFC Fight Night card.