Whether stalking opponents in the Octagon or speaking his mind outside of it, Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic has always been direct and forthright.
So when he was recently asked by Croatian sports news website gol.hr to name names of fellow fighters he felt had used performance enhancing drugs, it came as no surprise when he fired off the names of former WWE monster Brock Lesnar and fellow man of size Alistair Overeem.
In Filipovic’s words, they “didn’t get that big by eating potatoes."
I must say that both of the fighters he mentioned do look more like the result of the work of CGI graphics wizards than any sort of potato-eating human I’ve ever encountered. But it is also true that some folks are blessed with special genes.
And if you are to believe Overeem, perhaps his body really does respond dynamically to horse meat the way Herschel Walker’s body responds to push ups and salad, and the way Fedor Emilianenko’s body famously responds to ice cream cones.
But what about about Cro Cop? Should fans, and more importantly, the fraternity of fellow fighters, view him as someone who should be respected for speaking his mind with the intent of helping the sport of MMA?
Or will he be perceived as a turncoat and sore loser like many initially perceived Jose Canseco, who pulled a Jon Jones-style tattle tale on scores of fellow professional baseball players?
If I am Lesnar or Overeem, I’m not happy that Cro Cop is talking about me and possibly even messing with my paper. But if I’m one of the fighters who plays by the rules with no performance enhancers, and if I agree that PED’s are a problem, I’m secretly (or even publicly) applauding and thankful that a legend like Cro Cop will speak up on this issue.
There is so much at stake when fighters step into the ring. It is true that Filipovic's comments possibly could damage reputations, and time may tell whether his accusations are accurate.
Cheater's actions, on the other hand, can potentially damage brains and limbs. They need to be weeded out, or everyone needs to be allowed to use the same enhancers.
So while the NFL owners are currently attempting to work HGH testing into the new collective bargaining agreement, there is no such news regarding the UFC. The UFC still allows testosterone supplementation if OK’d by a doctor’s note, despite the fact that Testosterone Replacement Therapy has been banned in the NFL, MLB, NBA and even the WWE. And they flat out don’t test for HGH.
In a sport where combatants stand toe to toe with the intent to incapacitate their opponent, there is too much on the line to allow opponents to compete on an uneven playing field.