At the UFC 119 pre-fight press conference earlier this week, one of the first issues addressed was Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic’s eye injury, which occurred last week and had the MMA world on edge until it was revealed that he had been cleared for competition.
Filipovic was more reserved than he has been in recent media appearances but still fielded questions about his eye and gave some insight as to why he decided to fight on with the injury and also as to why he took the fight on late notice to begin with.
“My eyes are good,” said Filipovic of his optic health. “Eyes are good.”
Filipovic also detailed the actual nature of the injury, which had remained somewhat of a mystery up until now.
“It was one nice poke in the eye,” “Cro Cop” revealed. “We did sparring in UFC gloves and unfortunately — I had headgear, but it just went through. Headgear protects face but it wasn’t enough for a finger.”
A former member of the Lucko Anti-Terrorist Unit (basically Croatia’s version of SWAT), Filipovic humorously discussed his impetus for taking the fight on short notice (he replaced an injured Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira) and for not pulling out in the face of his own injury.
“Don Corleone sent me an offer that I couldn’t refuse,” he said, implying as he has before that the UFC compensated him handsomely.
More to the point, “Cro Cop” said that he took the fight because fighting is what he does and there would likely be no reason he would ever turn down a fight.
“This will be my 37th MMA fight and I had 33 K-1 fights,” he said. “It will be just like any other fight. I’m a professional. I’m a fighter. It’s in my blood. I don’t have to think if I’m going to accept the fight.”
UFC 119: Mir vs. Cro Cop airs live tonight on pay-per-view from the Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. As always, FightLine.com will provide live coverage of the event.