Dave Meltzer has the story:
–We’ve been flooded with e-mails on this one in the last 24 hours. The Mirko Cro Cop deal for the 6/13 UFC show is that Cro Cop has not yet signed his contract so the fight isn’t being advertised, but everyone is still under the impression Cro Cop is fighting on the show in Cologne, Germany. They wanted Cro Cop to sell tickets to people coming in from Croatia, but the longer they wait to announce it, the harder it’ll be to get people to travel in. They were hopeful it could be signed by tomorrow but there is a holdup that doesn’t have to do with Cro Cop/UFC negotiations.
It was widely believed that the UFC return of Mirko Crocop was predicated not on his recent performances, but Zuffa’s desire to cater to a much wider European audience; as his press release put it: “Although the UFC 99 card looks stacked, it seems that the UFC officials can see the benefits of hiring a top European fighter for their first ever UFC show in Germany.” No advertising means Zuffa’s desired outcome of rehiring Crocop is ironically deteriorating by the day.
But is there another situation causing the delay? Speculation after the jump…
(The following is purely an educated guess.)
While the story seems to be cut and dry, the last line Meltzer included is cryptic. There’s a possibility that he may be referring to an overturned mail truck or misprinted contract, it could just be a red herring to keep from explicitly saying it involves Crocop/DREAM negotiations. Although Crocop has fulfilled his three fight contract with the DREAM promotion (in fights with Hong Man Choi, Alistair Overeem and Tatsuya Mizuno), he stated in his blog that there is an extension clause in it – possibly being the right of first refusal.
In effect, DREAM may be negotiating with Filipovic to appear on their summer card. In order to finalize a deal, if it is indeed the case, they must match or exceed the contract Zuffa offered to Mirko. At that point, the decision of where to fight would be based all on Crocop and the UFC brass would be left very disappointed, as they are assuming he is confirmed to return.