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Mirko Cro Cop will announce his arrival to K-1 tomorrow

That’s the scoop according to one Dave Meltzer of The Wrestling Observer:

Reports from Japan, as well as a web site post by Mirko Cro Cop both state Cro Cop will be in Japan tomorrow for a press conference put on by Fighting Entertainment Group (K-1), which will announce the debut of a new MMA promotion to take the place of its Hero’s division.

Cro Cop was the most popular foreign MMA fighter in Japan when he signed a six-fight deal at the end of 2006 with UFC. After going 1-2 in UFC, it was known UFC was considering cutting him from the deal due to the high cost of his contract.

Wow. Not too long ago there was talk about Mirko as the future UFC heavyweight champion. A lackluster debut, a head kick that will live in infamy, and a poor performance in a loss kinda brings you back down to earth, doesn’t it?

Whether it’s deserved or not, Mirko will undoubtedly go down as a guy who couldn’t cut it in the UFC and that’s exactly how Dana White will spin this one.

31 COMMENTS
  • stephen says:

    i agree, dana will take this opportunity to call out Cro cop and many other pride fighters. If dana ever watched cro cop fight before ufc tho he’d know he’s no joke. Just look at the OWGP in 06. that was my favorite cro cop year…a monster.

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  • Zack says:

    When Dana makes these assine statements, who is he talking to? the media? the hardcores? certainly not the mainstream fans, who could care less about what the president of a league has to say.

    Those of us “in the know” know he’s full of shit. I’m a fan of what Dana has done with the UFC, but I think the way he manages with his mouth and through his emotions is his biggest weakness.

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  • Eric says:

    I wonder if they are letting him leave or are loaning him out to K-1 hoping that he finds his way again and strings together some wins so that he can come back and be marketable again.

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  • I hope he eventually comes back to the octagon and gets his revenge on Kongo for ruining his chances of ever having a child again.

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  • Huckaby says:

    “When Dana makes these assine statements, who is he talking to? the media? the hardcores? certainly not the mainstream fans, who could care less about what the president of a league has to say.”

    That’s an excellent point I’d somehow never thought of before. Who is he talking to?

    If it’s the head of the NFL or NBA it makes sense because there is a huge mainstream audience that might not read Deadspin or places that have scoops. But MMA? Every time he holds a press conference the only people listening are people like us that know better.

    Well said.

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  • TomK says:

    I don’t know that it would be “spin” from Dana White if he said that Cro Cop was washed up. The 2007 Cro Cop was nothing like the 2006 Cro Cop. Personally, I hope he regains his status as one of the most devastating strikers in MMA, but he was nothing but a huge disappointment in the UFC.

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  • Sam Cupitt says:

    Well I won’t say I’m not dissapointed. Sure he had some iffy performances and looked like he didnt want to be there, but I was always intrigued when he fought.

    UFC’s heavyweight division is getting uglier by the minute.

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  • Ram Maramba says:

    Damn. Will he be fighting for the new ‘Dreams’ promotion under the FEG/DSE banner?

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  • Jarrod says:

    I agree Sam. I would still be tuning into a Cro Cop fight for the chance of a head landing in the third row, but he looked so lost and bored in the octagon. The heavyweight division needs some depth bad.

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  • Tanner says:

    Wow, There really isn’t any other way to spin it other than he’s running away from the tough competition. I like CroCop but thats completely disappointing news.

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  • Tom Biggins says:

    I love CroCop…but to be so big and bad and with his “fighting is my life” line…

    If you fight to live, then you’d wanna face those you lost against and prove the masses wrong.

    Instead, it seems that he will look horrible by getting defeated in the UFC and going over seas again…

    Don’t feed the Dana…he’s gonna have a field day, and honestly, Crocop asked for this one.

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  • GB says:

    If Dana says Cro-Cop couldn’t make it in the UFC and this is why he left the organization then, guess what? He’ll be completely right. It’s too bad but that’s the plain truth. He was a monster in Pride and most of his fights in Japan were great but for some reason he just couldn’t feel comfortable in the Octagon.

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  • Jye says:

    I think Gonzaga and Kongo just were too aggressive for him. When Cro Cop was in Japan I think most of his fights were fought at a slower pace where he could pick his combinations, all he needed to worry about was the takedown but Gonzaga and Kongo had the perfect gameplan by making it uncomfortable striking. It seems that in his recent fights he really hasn’t thrown too many combinations as well, he just seems to throw his left cross and left kick and that’s about it

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  • Trevor says:

    I couldn’t agree with GB and Tanner more. In all honesty, the competition was too tough for him and I’m sure they’ll feed him some professional wrestlers in Japan to get his confidence back up. It really does look like he’s running away from the tough competition. There’s no other way to spin it. He was supposed to be the “Next Big Thing” in the UFC HW division and ended up crumbling. Bottom line.

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  • bubbafat says:

    I think it’s a ring or cage thing. Mirko’s got kick ass takedown defence in a ring because they can’t drive the shoot home before he’s leveraging himself off the ropes. There is almost two rings worth of distance to drive home the takedown in an octagon. At least that’s part of it.

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  • Anton K says:

    After two losses, who could possibly say that Cro-Cop couldn’t make it in the UFC. Cripes, Randy lost to Chuck twice, now he’s the damn champ. Sort of…

    Cro Cop fought Fedor for god’s sake — he’s the number one heavyweight in the world.

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  • Anton K says:

    Chuck Liddell lost twice in the UFC… then he fights the fight of his life against Silva… Cro-Cop crushed Silva. What the hell is going on here?

    If Shogun loses twice is he gone too?

    So Brock Lessnar is the holy grail of the heavyweight division?

    Wake up! The UFC is the problem people, not Cro-Cop.

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  • Anton K says:

    For that matter, if W.Silva loses twice, he’s gone too?

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  • Canuckle Sandwich says:

    Why is it that when the UFC decides not to pay a fighter what they want that’s “business” but when a fighter decides not to take less money than they think they’re worth that’s “running away”.

    Get a grip people.

    As much as you may wish it was, MMA is not some “pure” sport where it’s about proving your manhood or your superior skill some shit like that just for the sake of being the best…that’s a load of crap and anyone who thinks so is incredibly naive. MMA is a business…the promoters are businessmen, the *fighters* are businessmen too…no difference.

    The UFC is about a brand (they’ve said as much themselves). The product itself is not that relevant as long as people recognise and buy into the brand. But fighters create brands for themselves too – Fedor is a brand, Couture is a brand, hell Cro Cop is a brand as well. THey are looking our for their *business* interests just as much as Zuffa is looking out for theirs. I don’t see how that is so hard to understand.

    As long as there are promoters willing to pay, fighters will go where they get the best deal or the best business circumstances (more money or more favourable contracts or more open contracts, or whatever works for their particular business plan). It really has nothing to do with being or fighting the best…that went out the window when the money came in….only the up and comers care about that anymore, no matter what the established names all say in interviews. The only reason established fighters REALLY care about the belts is the extra cash and exposure that goes with it.

    The UFC didn’t want to shell out the cash for Cro Cop. Fair enough – it’s a business decision. Cro Cop didn’t want a pay cut, so he leaves for somewhere that will pay him what he wants. Again, it’s just business.

    Same with Couture, same with Fedor, same with Arlovski, same with Barnett, etc. etc. They made decisions to benefit the brand that they represent (themselves).

    If you think otherwise you’re hopelessly naive and you’re fooling yourself.

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  • Mike Fagan says:

    Right on, Canuckle.

    If the UFC isn’t going to pay him 350k + bonuses and Mirko can get that or more back in Japan, why would he stay in the UFC and take a paycut?

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  • Sam Cupitt says:

    I hope Cro Cop kept the receipt on that actual sized Octagon he bought a few months ago to practice in.

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  • ufcfan says:

    Mirko Cro Cop’s tenure in UFC is officially over as he showed up at Wednesday’s press conference at Hotel Metropolitan in Tokyo for the announcement of the debut of a new promotion.

    Cro Cop was released from his UFC contract and said he would appear on the debut of a new group, a combined effort of K-1 and the former Pride promotion, which takes place on 3/15 at the Saitama Super Arena.

    Staff from K-1 and the former Pride staff, led by K-1 head Sadaharu Tanikawa and Keeichi Sasahara, who was Nobuyuki Sakakibara’s second in command in Pride, were at the event.

    J.Z. Calvan vs. Shinya Aoki was the only match announced for the debut show.

    Tanikawa announced that the Hero’s promotion has closed and will be replaced by the new group, which would crown a lightweight, middleweight and heavyweight champion. He said a tournament would be started on the first show for the lightweight and middleweight titles. He said the heavyweight title would be a single match, likely involving Cro Cop.

    Also at the press conference were the famous pro wrestler/fighters Kazushi Sakuraba, Masakatsu Funaki, Minowa-man and Kiyoshi Tamura, who will be the top native stars along with Kid Yamamoto, Caol Uno, Hayato Sakurai and Yoshihiro Akiyama.

    Videotape messages were played with Fedor Emelianenko and Royce Gracie saying they would fight with the new group, but didn’t indicate they would be on the debut show. They announced a business relationship with M-1 Global to book Emelianenko.

    The group plans to run six or seven shows in 2008

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  • Lyoto's Lolita says:

    Cro Cop was a jerk to Dana. I’m sure that had more do to with this mess than anything else. Mirko basically got fired for being a rude, grumpy, depressed, egotistical employee.

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  • Andrej says:

    I’m still waiting to See what’s up with M-1 and if they are a joke or not?

    I hope Mirco Cro Crop’s career starts to get on the up swing again. His loss to Chiek Kongo was mind boggoling. Well I can look forward hopefully to see him fighting Sergei Kharitonov or Semmy Schlit.

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  • Derek B. says:

    that just shows you how one-sided the UFC’s contracts really are.

    They can release fighters and any given moment…but if you want to leave they get upset and sue happy.

    I think we’ll see alot more fighters leaving the UFC in the future.

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  • Shawn says:

    It is a business. You do have to go where the money is right and all that. But I honestly believe that if Cro Cop were to string together a few wins, even under a new contract, that he would be making more money here with the amount of exposure and endorsements and all that, or in the least a very comparable sum. But the thing is that’s not guaranteed as he’d be facing top level competition whereas when he goes back to Japan it will be guaranteed as he’s a huge star already and he’ll probably be beating on cans for the most part in between a few big fights.

    It is a business decision but there are definitely both positive and negative aspects for Cro Cop. Yes, he’ll be going to a place where he’ll have a much easier time winning fights and thus making more money not too mention his downside will be much bigger in the first place. But that’s just for the short term buck. What he’s also done is come into the top organization to the world and had no success and simply left after that. He couldn’t win two fights and now he’s hitting the road for easier competition. For the UFC, it’s a win-win. They don’t have to shell out $350k a fight to someone who simply wasn’t earning that back for them at this point and they can say that he couldn’t handle the competition and the style of the UFC.

    No matter what perspective you look at it he will be remembered for running away from tough competition. Everyone can talk about the money aspect but in the long run they’re tied together as the level of tough competition you beat means more money. If Cro Cop put together a Liddell like streak and walked through Gonzaga, Couture, and say Arlovski, he’d be making some sweet loot. But he didn’t do that and is doing what we call “selling out.” I’m not talking bad about the guy in that sense as everyone’s dream is to do what they want as a job and get paid the most for it and hell, in most cases I’d do it too, but that’s exactly what he’s doing.

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  • Derek B. says:

    Shawn you sell out when you go fight for the UFC or any big Org. my friend.

    That’s what Selling out would be considered to like underground fighters and competitors…

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  • Evan says:

    “That’s what Selling out would be considered to like underground fighters and competitors…”

    Please…

    Everyone who will cry and point to him as a sellout would hop right after the money as well. When you have a family to support it’s your responsibility to follow the money,

    This is a business.

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  • Anton K says:

    The UFC decides to pay Cro-Cop less because of two losses in a row, that’s what I see as the problem. They are destroying the heavyweight division because of the reality of the sport. Two losses in a row is a reality.

    He gets ko’ed by Gonzaga and loses to Kongo after breaking a rib and getting kneed in the groin.

    Had Cro-Cop stayed on and won his next two, he’d be worth exponentially more than his salary.

    Will they “renegotiate” with Lessnar if he loses his next one, too?

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  • JacRabbit says:

    I can assure you Mirko isn’t “affraid of the competition”, nor does he care to “run away”. In my opinion the pay cut is the UFC’s nice way of releasing you… shit, if you do stay they get a 2fer–since you’ll be agreeing to a contract for peanuts. He’s doing what is SMART for him. Lets use some logic folks… its easy for us to sit here in our living rooms watching these people bust ass to get where they are, and still criticize… There is a cost associated with that level of work, and the UFC doesn’t care to provide it given his poor record there. This is how business works.

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  • Evan says:

    so many assumptions with so little information

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