With the constant barrage of UFC news — and there's been a lot of it lately — sometimes details kind of get left out.
While writing, it's super easy to forget that not everyone shares the same amount of knowledge, whether it's about certain fighters or a seemingly "obscure" reference in a post.
I was reminded of this when I came across an article on Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic the other day in the Los Angeles Times (check out the full clip here).
It's a nice background piece for fans who may not be familiar with the Croatian superstar, as well as a good refresher for those of us who simply can't get enough of him.
It's impossible to express the magnitude of this acquisition, but I think the author Dave Meltzer may have hit the nail on the head in his article.
Here's a snip:
UFC President Dana White's signing of Cro Cop to a two-year, six-fight deal marked a major moment in the sport. It can be argued this was the moment that the U.S. established itself as the world's leader in MMA. Through the growth in PPV, UFC is now taking in revenue that the Japanese promotions can't match. For the first time, it can legitimately afford to offer more money to top talent and in doing so, has signed its hottest foreign star.
I was shocked and puzzled when the UFC didn't milk this major announcement for all it was worth at UFC 66 (click here for the rant as well as a nice Cro Cop highlight reel). And, a lot of that has to do with the lack of name recognition among the majority of fans here in the United States.
No matter how much I try to rationalize with myself, I still have a hard time believing it -- even though it's true.
Here's another snip:
The uniqueness of MMA as a sport that many in the past year have become fans of but few follow closely has created a dichotomy. White had to pay top dollar to get a fighter whose name value in this country is very small. Cro Cop's potential is gigantic ... [he's] a human highlight reel, but with the North American fan base, aside from those who have seen tapes of his fights on FSN's Pride shows, he's an unknown. The reaction in Las Vegas to the signing being announced showed the amount of fans familiar with him was not very high.
On February 3, many UFC fans will get to see Cro Cop firsthand when he makes his debut at UFC 67 against Eddie Sanchez.
And I think most if not all of them will wonder how in hell they haven't heard of him sooner.
Feel free to read more about Cro Cop in the archive.