As I suspected, a rumor putting out this much smoke had to contain some fire. Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic was poked in the eye in his last full day of training before traveling to the U.S. for UFC 119. Initial reports from Croatian news sites that he was out of the fight appear to have been over blown, but at the same time, the initial claims of Cro Cop and the UFC that he will be fine are also premature.
Anyone who claimed that Cro Cop wasn't hurt at all and that the stories were just empty rumors is either a liar or was utterly misinformed.
Dave Meltzer (subscription required) talked to Dana White about the Cro Cop situation:
Regarding Mirko Cro Cop, he was poked in the eye a few days ago in sparring and has blood in his eye, which looks bad. He said Cro Cop contacted the company immediately, and said his opthamologist cleared him for Saturday night's UFC 119 main event with Frank Mir.
He also said Cro Cop's doctor sent X-rays to the UFC showing no breaks and the doctors in Las Vegas who looked at the X-rays also felt Cro Cop would be able to fight, but White said as soon as Cro Cop lands in Indianapolis, he's going to be given a battery of eye tests.
As I posted earlier I was amazed at so many sites being willing to blithely post that the fight would go on based on the assessment of Cro Cop's camp and Dana White.
The only people who can say authoritatively whether or not Cro Cop will be able to fight Frank Mir this coming Saturday are the Indiana authorities and they won't even see Filipovic until tomorrow.
Anyone who followed the Ray Mercer situation at King of the Cage this weekend should know that it is not the fighters and promoters who decide which fighters are healthy enough to fight. Only the proper state authorities can make that determination. Until Indiana authorities examine Cro Cop and make their determination nothing is final. All we know is that Cro Cop WAS injured and that he and his doctors expect that he will be able to fight on Saturday.
Cross your fingers fight fans, UFC 119 NEEDS Mirko Cro Cop to be cleared to fight.
UPDATE: Cro Cop spoke to Fighters Only (HT BE member Horselover Fat):
"It was the very last minute of the very last round of the very last sparring," CroCop told Fighters Only staff writer John Joe O'Regan today. "We were sparring in UFC gloves and my sparring partner - who is about 120 kilos, Croatia's best thai boxer - he poked me in the eye. The pain was like... I cant even describe it, the pain was so big I thought he had blinded me.
"I went to see a doctor and he advised that the eye should be rested minimum two weeks. But I have made a commitment to the UFC and a commitment to the fans, so there is no question of backing out of the fight. I do not want to let anyone down, I know they could not find a replacement for me at this short notice and many fans have already bought tickets for the show."
CroCop is currently having to wear an eye-gauze and has a saline solution to use on the injured eye, which requires further examination but appears to have suffered a severe abrasion to the cornea. CroCop says his vision is "almost normal" from the eye and "I hope it could be back to normal in a week".
HT MMA for Real