Crazy things are happening at Zuffa headquarters these days.
Remember about a week ago when Cro Cop’s participation at UFC 99 all of a sudden went from confirmed to a big fat question mark? Word was Cro Cop had yet to sign his contract, but then about as quick as the uncertainty came about, the UFC made the official announcement that Cro Cop would indeed be fighting Mostapha Al-Turk at UFC 99.
Of course at that point, we assumed whatever issue was preventing him from signing the deal was worked out and Cro Cop put ink to paper. Yeah, not exactly. Instead, as Dana White revealed on a conference call earlier today, Dana channeled his inner Monte Cox and made a verbal agreement with Mirko over the phone to get him on the card.
“Mirko and I are working on that still,” White said. “Mirko Cro Cop ended up on this card last minute, weeks before the event, and this whole deal was done verbally over the phone with me and him.”
“I’ve never done this in the history of the company with anybody, ever,” White said. “I respect Mirko. He knows how I feel about him and I know how he feels about me and I know what his goals are as far as the UFC and the heavyweight title. We did this over the phone. I’ve never done that, ever, in nine years of being in this business.”
I have a feeling we’re only getting a part of that story. Nevertheless, that sounds like an unprecedented low level of job security even for the UFC. However, when asked if this was a must win for Mirko, Dana left the door open for the possibility of him returning if he loses.
I don’t know. Like I said, Mirko “Cro Cop” is a guy I respect. We have a good relationship and he and I will talk about it. Just because you lose a fight in the UFC doesn’t mean you’re gonna leave. There’s a lot of different factors. Mirko will fight this fight and we’ll talk after the fight and see what happens.
If Cro Cop does what he says he will, Dana won’t have to worry about making that decision, because much like he has for weeks now, Mirko says he has a renewed to desire to make a run at a championship and this is “definitely not” his last UFC fight.
You can check the full audio and transcript at ProMMA.info.