On Friday, Index.hr, one of Croatia's most popular and most respected news sites reported that Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic was injured in his training for UFC 119 and wouldn't be able to fight.
The Index.hr report also states that Filipovic had already consulted several eye specialists in his home country but was unable to obtain their clearance to fight. The popular knockout artist is scheduled to depart for Indianapolis this Sunday before squaring off against Mir on Sept. 25 at the Conseco Fieldhouse.
Nokaut.com, an MMA news site with strong ties to Filipovic, called the report false, and said it has training footage of the Croatian's final training session with no hint of an injury having transpired.
It didn't take long for twitter to take over the narrative, MMA for Real documented:
However, SI.com's Josh Gross tweets that he is hearing from his source that Cro Cop is OK.
Well placed source tells me Mirko is "fine." Could be this person doesn't have full facts, but usually spot on.
In addition, UFC heavyweight Pat Barry, who fought Cro Cop at UFC 115, tweets this:And that one is quickly squashed by Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports, who spoke with UFC president Dana White and tweets the following:
CroCop is A-OK! I called him!!! Hahhhhhhhhhh, we're friends!!!
Nothing wrong with Cro Cop according to @DanaWhite Bogus rumor #UFC #MMA
Then Dana White tweeted:
Case closed, right?
As is sometimes the case, it turns out there was some fire to go with all this smoke, from MMA Junkie:
However, Filipovoc did suffer an injury - at the most inopportune time.
"His last day of sparring - the last 10 minutes of the last day of sparring - he got poked in the eye," said White, who was in Rosemead, Calif., for the latest UFC Gym opening. "But he's seen an opthamologist; he's seen everybody."
And White assured that Filipovic, who's actually an injury replacement for Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, has been cleared to fight.
"Cro Cop, he's already on the plane now or has already landed in Indianapolis," White said on Saturday afternoon. "He's fine. He's fighting."
"I got hit in the eye, but nothing scary. This isn't the first nor the last punch like that. It won't stop me from traveling to fight, and to fight next Saturday against Frank Mir."
When you consider that Cro Cop vs Mir was a replacement bout for the Antonio Rodrigo "Big Nog" Nogueira vs Mir bout that was originally supposed to headline UFC 119, Dana White really dodged a bullet here. Losing your main event only a few days out from an already weak PPV card is pretty much a worst case scenario.
But as a watcher of the MMA media, I'm also kind of amazed that so many people took Dana White at his word when he denied there was anything to the Cro Cop injury story. Dana White showed us back in April that he will happily lie to the press on the record if it serves his interests.