Despite Mirko Cro Cop fighting King Mo Lawal at the Rizin Grand Prix quarterfinals this weekend, the main story-line seems to be Cro Cop’s rivalry with Wanderlei Silva. The two have engaged in a war of words on social media the past moth and they haven’t looked to be slowing down. They have already squared off in the ring twice. Once Wanderlei Silva withdrew from his scheduled fight with Cro Cop at Rizin, the 2 legends have been going at it non stop.
2002: Pride 20
Cro Cop and Wanderlei met for the first time at Pride 20. At the time, Wanderlei Silva would fight anyone at any weight. He primarily fought at 185 pounds. However, for special fights and Pride tournaments he would move up to 205 pounds or heavyweight. One such special time was at Pride 20 when he fought Cro Cop at heavyweight. Special rules were in place for the bout.
1. 5 x 3 minute rounds
2. If the contest goes to a decision, it’s considered a draw.
3. If they go to the ropes on the ground, the fight is stood up.
They went to a decision, thus it was a draw. The fight was a fairly even contest and both left it all in the ring. What people will remember the most about the fight was Cro Cop’s foot mark on Wanderlei’s ribs.
Pride was know to be accommodating back then. The reason this fight took place at all, was because Cro Cop had just started his MMA career and wasn’t ready for much grappling. In 2002 and previous, Cro Cop was primarily known as just a kickboxer. People had a feeling that this wouldn’t be the last we saw of Wanderlei Silva vs Mirko Cro Cop.
2006 Pride Open Weight Grand Prix
Mirko and Wanderlei met up again in 2006. By this time, Cro Cop had hit his stride. He became known for having incredible defensive wrestling which allowed him to keep fights standing. They met up in the semifinal round of the Grand Prix. The match went quite differently than the first one did. Cro Cop spent most of the match beating Wanderlei up from the guard. Once back on the feet with Wanderlei softened up, Cro Cop landed his patented high left kick and knocked Wanderlei out. Cro Cop went on to win the 2006 Grand Prix and both guys continued their legendary careers.
Wanderlei and Cro Cop were set to meet again in Japan under the Rizin banner. Both fighters had agreed to the bout, but Wanderlei had to pull out of the fight. He had been in a car accident earlier in the year and didn’t want to be less than 100% for the fight.
Cro Cop took to his official facebook page:
“I just received a message from Rizin Fighting Federation. Wanderlei “The Braveheart” Silva doesn’t want to fight me. He gets scared and he changed his mind, but he knew it from the beginning. He played tough guy on the press conference in July and he called me out for a fight. Then I said to myself, this man has a guts, but now we all see what is he made of, nothing but shit.”
“Once he was a fearless and true axe murder but now he’s just a scared homie and only thing he can kill is his mosquito. And Wanderlei, don’t you dare to come to Saitama to see the tournament like a guest because I will slap you like a bitch just like you deserve. You are nothing but a scared bitch and I had so much respect for you as a fighter until now. I suggest a new name for you that will fit you well… WANDERLEI “THE CHICKEN” SILVA”
Wanderlei wasted little time responding to Cro Cop from his youtube channel. Essentially, Wanderlei called Cro Cop a ‘keyboard warrior’ and told him that his time would come.
Cro Cop attempted to end it today, while at the same time continuing the beef. MikeSwick.com caught up with Mirko in Japan, who said he didn’t want to talk about Wanderlei any more. He took a final slight jab at Wanderlei when he called him ‘a small mouse’.
Clearly this feud is far from over. Mirko will have his hands full this weekend with King Mo and doesn’t have the Silva rivalry in his immediate sights. After that fight though, I anticipate the Wanderlei and Cro Cop tug-of-war to pick up steam. It’s already been 15 years. What’s a few more?