On the surface this story seems outright shady, if not at least somewhat hard to fathom. RTL site Vijesti reports that Mirko "CroCop" Filipovic could have had his UFC suspension rescinded if he had been willing to snitch on other fighters to USADA. As most fans will remember, back in November of 2015, Mirko CroCop (only just recently having returned to the UFC from more than three years of fighting on the regional MMA circuit) was suspended from UFC competition for two years by USADA for self reporting his use of hGH.
The move immediately prompted CroCop's now-short-lived retirement, seeming to take the remaining wind out of the 40-year-old fighter's competitive spirit. However, in a recent video interview with RTL site Vijesti, CroCop went into further detail about how the suspension unfolded and how, had he been willing, he could have continued his UFC career.
Ina Ferencic, a writer for Croation website ProFightStore.hr, translated CroCop's interview into English. Bloody Elbow was able to reasonably verify the bulk of her transcript with the original RTL article using Google Translate, but she appears to cover some sections that the article skipped and that we were thus unable to verify.
Apparently CroCop explained that while he didn't ask for medical clearance from USADA before undergoing treatment on his shoulder, he contacted the UFC shortly afterward to notify them of the procedure and to make sure that he wouldn't be in violation of the rules. As CroCop seems to outline it, he was told that he needed to send an email to the UFC, showing his treatment, but that "there would be no problem."
After that, in his own words, "Then USADA called me and they told me my confession is commendable act. I didn't understand anything. My e-mail was forwarded to USADA and they used it as my confession. They gave me 2 year suspension because I was 'fair'. They misused it, they needed a big name to show they are in control, and this is where they used me. I got sickened by all of this. My shoulder hurt, its function was questionable and now this... It boiled over for me, my mother was crying, people were having their sweet time with it, they were tarnishing my career."
Eventually, and after apparently finding he couldn't file a complaint as he'd already missed a deadline, it seems that CroCop was given another potential avenue to erase his suspension altogether:
"In the end they offered me to revoke my suspension If I snitch another fighter. I couldn't believe that they were humiliating me in this matter. I have my own gym, I don't know what people use and even If I knew it - I wouldn't tell them. I told them that they can stop me from fighting in UFC, but they will not take my soul. If organization who fights for clean sport is on such a level that they want to blackmail a fighter... Can you get any lower? I wouldn't do this to my worst enemy. But such are the rules, I'm not mad at anybody. I should have kept quiet. I ended up being more naive than a French maid."
The kicker here is, that while USADA's back-room dealing to offer CroCop a way out of his suspension seems shady, it's spelled out pretty clearly in their own regulations. Section 10.6 outlines the process by which a fighter may provide "Substantial assistance in discovering or establishing anti-doping policy violations" (emphasis mine).
USADA in its sole discretion may suspend all or part of the period of Ineligibility and other Consequences imposed in an individual case in which it has results management authority where the Athlete or other Person has provided Substantial Assistance to USADA or another Anti-Doping Organization, criminal authority or professional disciplinary body which results in: (i) USADA or another Anti-Doping Organization discovering or bringing forward an Anti-Doping Policy Violation by another Person and the information provided by the Person providing Substantial Assistance is made available to USADA, or (ii) which results in a criminal or disciplinary body discovering or bringing forward a criminal offense or the breach of professional rules committed by another Person and the information provided by the Person providing Substantial Assistance is made available to USADA. The extent to which the otherwise applicable period of Ineligibility and other Consequences imposed may be suspended shall be based on the seriousness of the Anti-Doping Policy Violation committed by the Athlete or other Person and the significance of the Substantial Assistance provided by the Athlete or other Person to the effort to eliminate doping in sport. If the Athlete or other Person fails to continue to cooperate and to provide the complete and credible Substantial Assistance upon which a suspension of the period of Ineligibility or other Consequences was based, USADA shall reinstate the original period of Ineligibility and other Consequences.
From the sound of things, CroCop may not have been willing to play the game with USADA, but the basics are right there in black and white: Snitch and you shall be rewarded.
CroCop is currently scheduled to make his return to MMA as part of the Rizin Openweight Grand Prix, which will include Wanderlei Silva, Kazuyuki Fujita, and Baruto as part of a 16-man field and end over the promotion's two-event New Years Eve special. In order to compete in this event MMAFighting reports that the UFC has terminated him from his contract.