The end of the road has come for Mirko Cro Cop’s legendary career. Just weeks after defeating Roy Nelson at Bellator 216, the former K-1 champ and MMA great apparently suffered a stroke, which has brought an end to his fighting days. He alluded to it with an Instagram post that included a wristband where he had apparently been admitted to the “department of epilepsy” in a hospital:
He was then a guest on a show on Croatian network Nova TV, where he revealed his medical issues. Cro Cop stated that he had suffered a neck injury in the months leading up to the Nelson fight, and possibly had a seizure at some point before the bout. And after the fight at some point, he suffered a stroke (translation via MMA Junkie):
“It’s over,” he said. “I hope I’m not going to cry, but it’s the inevitable retirement.”
“I will never enter the ring again. I cannot let anyone hit me. I have to have (an MRI) in three months, after that I will train again, boxing bags, but there is no such thing as a fight.”
Cro Cop’s 25-year combat sports career included a decorated kickboxing resume and 2012 K-1 WGP win, along with a 52-fight MMA career that saw him win an Openweight Grand Prix in both Pride and RIZIN. He had an uneven UFC career, going 5-6 in 11 fights. But he ended his career on a ten-fight win streak overall, capped by the decision win over Nelson in Bellator.