What the heck is going on with Cro Cop?

Steve Cofield

Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic has been and will always be a bit of a mystery. The heavyweight legend crushed Mostapha Al-Turk at UFC 99 and then quickly became a villian with many MMA fans when Dana White to Yahoo! Sports that Cro Cop was done with the UFC after just one fight back. White responded by saying he got screwed and that Cro Cop pulled a fast one on him having already signed with DREAM in Japan. Apparently, no one spoke with Cro Cop until he returned to his homeland where he first said he didn't want to comment on personal matters and then changed his tune telling a Croatian newspaper that he's a free agent. Huh?

"However, it is not true that Cro Cop signed with Dream. We have learned that Mirko Crocop still did not sign neither with Dream nor with UFC, and that he is ready to discuss any offer. Moreover, Mirko expected after the victory in Cologne immediate talks with Dana White about the new contract and is surprised by the accusations of UFC's president."

Cro Cop says that he's open to talking with the UFC but has an issue with only signing a two-fight extension. The 34-year-old heavyweight doesn't want to fight twice in 12 months. He's looking for more volume and quicker turnarounds between fights:

"I don’t know why White listened to the rumors instead of talking to me. I hoped that we will talk about a continuing of our collaboration, because the only obstacle was the long period between two fights that has been offered to me. I don’t want to sit at home so long and waiting that someone calls me for a fight. However, I am grateful to Dana White for an opportunity to fight in Cologne and despite his harsh words, I don’t see the reason that we don’t prolong the contract."

The whole story is very confusing. Immediately after the fight, Cro Cop did tell UFC.com (1:21 mark), that he was looking forward to fighting guys like Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Randy Couture. Sources say that whispers of the DREAM deal were circulating Lanxess before the event started.

Ariel Helwani from Versus.com raripped the hell out of Cro Cop on Saturday night's Yahoo! Sports/ESPNRadio1100 postfight show upon hearing Filipovic had reportedly signed a deal with DREAM before his fight against Al-Turk. Fans on the Underground Forum fired back calling him a UFC nuthugger and questioning his objectivity, forgetting that he's doing a sportstalk show. On the flip side, Fight Opinion's Zack Arnold said White had what was coming to him. If he expects fighters to sign deals where they can be cut at any point (similar to the NFL) and have their pay slashed after losses, Cro Cop should be able to do what he wants.

Tip via Bloody Elbow