On Tuesday it was announced that Mirko ‘CroCop’ Filipovic had pulled out of his schedule fight at UFC Fight Night 79 and also announced his retirement from MMA (again). It was thought that the decision was made in large part due to injury, however some additional news surfaced yesterday that changes the picture a bit. Apparently, CroCop was the first fighter to fail a drug test under the new USADA-run program. While no details have surfaced as to what he tested positive for, USADA released a statement saying that he had been flagged for a violation of the policy, and provisionally suspended pending adjudication by the new governing body. Of course, this has no real bearing on CroCop’s career due to his retirement, but it is quite likely that this helped push him out the door. Given the appearance of the former PRIDE and K-1 champion later in his career, and his admission in his retirement statement that he had taken “various cocktails of drugs” to help get past his shoulder issue, this comes as no real surprise. The bigger surprise, perhaps, is that after 100 tests by USADA, CroCop was the first fighter that we know of to test positive. Given the apparent drug culture in MMA, one would have assumed that 100 test would have resulted in numerous positives already. Staying on the topic of retirement and injuries, Khabib Nurmagomedov announced that he will not be retiring from MMA as he originally considering. Unfortunately for Khabib, he inhaled sharply while making his statement, causing a tear in his lung and more damage to his ribs, so he will be out for eternity anyways. In all seriousness, Khabib had wanted to fight Al Iaquinta in his targeted return, which is the Super Bowl weekend show, but Iaquinta will be undergoing surgery for a knee injury of his own and will be unavailable. Even for Nurmagomedov — who still seems to struggle with understanding how the booking of fights works — Iaquinta was a strange callout. The Dagestani was scheduled to face #8 ranked Tony Ferguson before getting injured, and then requested a bout with an injured #11 ranked fighter. Khabib is currently ranked second in the lightweight division, and is doing his best to avoid fighting similarly highly ranked fighters. There was also the story from the summer where he and his team lobbied to avoid a five-round bout with Ferguson. The fight career of Nurmagomedov is a strange one indeed. Finally, some guy who won a bunch of money betting on the Kansas City Royals is now stating he wants to lose a bunch of his money by putting it on Holly Holm. Sportsbooks everywhere rejoice when people that win big want to donate their money back like that.
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