July 10, 2009: Cro Cop Back to the UFC?
LAS VEGAS – UFC president Dana White Thursday told reporters that Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic may in fact honor the UFC deal presented him prior to his Octagon return at UFC 99.
On Tuesday, a report surfaced quoting heavyweight Junior Dos Santos saying he would be fight the Croatian MMA star at UFC 103 on Sept. 19 in Dallas. Dos Santos last week had been removed from his scheduled appearance at UFC 102 claiming injury.
White blasted Cro Cop following his UFC 99 victory over Mustapha Al-Turk when Cro Cop said he had signed a three-fight deal with Dream.
"I hope so," White said when asked whether Cro Cop was returning to the UFC fold. "Like I said at that press conference in Germany, he and I had a deal; I think he's going to honor the deal."
According to Croatian website Index.hr, UFC executive Lorenzo Fertitta last week flew to Cro Cop's hometown of Zagreb to negotiate his return and make him "an offer he couldn't refuse." The two reportedly emerged "all smiles" from the meeting.
White pointed blame for the snafu in the direction of Japanese promoters.
"I've said this many times, and I'll say it again: there's some crooked (expletive) that goes on in Japan," he said. "They're all crooked; there's some sneaky (expletive) going on over there. That's always a big problem. These guys that are in the fight business over there, for my Mexican friends, 'no bueno.'"
However, White declined to call the fight a done deal.
Cageside's take: We'd like to see Cro Cop vs. Rampage. Two former PRIDE stars who somehow never fought.
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