Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic, a Croatian Congressman and PRIDE fighter, recently conducted an official meeting with the Japanese Prime Minister, Junichiro Koizumi.

Dressed in congressional-style, a grey suit, grey shirt and red necktie, Mirko visited the Prime Minister's official residence, accompanied by the Croatian Ambassador and DSE President Sakakibara. Mirko performed his official duties by delivering a letter to the Prime Minister, written by the Croatian Prime Minister, which declared a wish for continued friendly relations between the 2 countries. Mirko then presented the Prime Minister with a special present; official PRIDE gloves, signed by Mirko with "Junichiro Koizumi VS Mirko Cro Cop" printed on them.

Responding to reporter requests, both of them put on the gloves and posed. Mirko also posed for the camera while pretending to punch Prime Minister Koizumi. The Prime Minister displayed a knowledge of martial arts, commenting on how powerful Mirko's high-kick is. When Mirko heard this, he invited the Prime Minister to watch his fight in the Heavyweight Grand Prix in April. DSE also said that they would send an official invitation.

After the short 15-minute meeting, Mirko went to Tokyo's Shibuya area to appear on a live radio talk show, TOKYO FM'S "Weekend Fantajista". The radio set was visible to the public through giant windows and a long line of Mirko's fans stretched down the street, trying to get a peek at their favorite fighter.

Mirko requested his entrance song, Wild Boys, while smiling and waving to the fans. Unfortunately, the DJ didn't have the song on hand to be played. However, Mirko was kind enough to answer some of the DJ's questions.




Pride Fighting Championship: What kind of man do you want to be?
Mirko: I want to be a good man, an athlete with power.
Pride: There are more than 50 fans right in front of us. What do you think of that?
Mirko: (waving his hand) Thanks to all the fans who came out in the cold to see me.
Pride: How was your meeting with Prime Minister Koizumi?
Mirko: I'm really grateful that he made time to meet me, despite being busy with things like Iraq. He had a really warm attitude. I was impressed when he said that he had been watching my videos and asked me technical questions about my high-kick and right straight. He had done a lot of research.
Pride: Did he ask you to give him a demonstration?
Mirko: I gave him the gloves as a present. We put the gloves on and he asked me about punches and kicks I used against Bob Sapp.
Pride: What else did you talk about?
Mirko: He was very friendly and very smart. I think that the Japanese people should be proud to have him as the Prime Minister. I became a fan of his and would like to support him if I can.
Pride: Prime Minister Koizumi gained a powerful ally then, didn't he?
Mirko: I invited him to come and visit Croatia sometime to see our beautiful ocean. If he will come, the entire country will greet him.
Pride: The movie "The Last Samurai" was a giant hit in Japan, putting attention on the life of the warrior. What does being a "samurai" mean to you?
Mirko: I think bushido is just like my life as a fighter. Bushido is pushing yourself, despite the troubles you may have. If I win the Heavyweight Grand Prix and become the world's strongest man, I will be walking the path that I chose for myself. I'll do that until the very end. I think the path that I walk is bushido. Also, it's important to believe in yourself and take care of those that believe in you. The path I believe in is to show respect for the country in which I was born and raised and live life as a real man. There are a lot of troubles in the 21st century but my message to everyone is to walk the true path.
Pride: You're going to fight Yamamoto on February 15 at Bushido II. What kind of fight will it be?
Mirko: I don't really like to talk much before the fight. I just want to show respect for my opponent, do my best, get the usual results and return home to Croatia.

Mirko smiled and said "Arigato" as the female DJ gave him Valentine's Day chocolates. He gave the fans one last wave and then left the studio.