Mark Coleman was one of the first inductees into the UFC Hall of Fame when he was inducted into its theaters in 2008. On Thursday, Coleman will return to the Hall of Fame stage in Las Vegas, but this time to honor his late friend. and his teammate, former UFC heavyweight champion Kevin Randleman, whose posthumous induction highlights the 2020 Hall of Fame class of promotion alongside Georges St-Pierre, Marc Ratner and others.
It is a long-term moment for many close to Randleman. And for Coleman, who tragically lost his friend to complications from pneumonia in 2016, it’s a time he says Randleman always hoped and prayed that he would come someday.
“I’m so happy right now, because Kevin didn’t really care about the awards, man,” Coleman said on Wednesday’s episode of. MMA time. “The few times he left his apartment a few friends would go back to his apartment and we would check and see what he had left and there were times he would leave his national championship trophy lying there. He didn’t care. But this Hall of Fame is something that Kevin really, really wanted to. It really meant a lot to him. And for him to get it, I’m just happy.
Randleman was a singular figure in the fighting game before his unexpected passing. A key member of the Hammer House team, nicknamed “The Monster,” Randleman was just 44 when he was hospitalized and ultimately lost his life on a work trip to San Diego. In the years that followed, Coleman and Randleman’s wife Elizabeth campaigned for “The Monster” to be posthumously inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame. It was always the award that Randleman told his friends he wanted the most, an honor he felt could validate the journey he has had in MMA and the legacy he left on the sport.
With Randleman now set to join Coleman in the pioneering wing of the UFC Hall of Fame alongside many legends of their time, this week has become a special week for those who remember the exploits of the “Monster” of his time. apogee.
“I still miss the guy, but I’ve had a long conversation with his wife Elizabeth and we’re celebrating his life, we’re not going to be sad about it,” Coleman said. “Things happen and I just got the chance to spend 30 years of my life with this guy and we did it all together. He was a very, very special man. He touched the hearts of so many people. I knew he touched people’s hearts, but I’ve discovered more since he left – so many fan pages for Kevin Randleman, so much love for the guy. He really, really loved people.
In terms of pure physicality, Randleman remains on top of the greatest athletes to ever don a pair of four-ounce gloves. He was a two-time NCAA Champion and was named Ohio State University’s Wrestler of the Century and was renowned for his relentlessness on the mat. Randleman won his second NCAA title in 1993 despite his dislocated jaw in the year-end tournament. As the story goes, he stopped mid-game to ask his coach to “put his face back in place” before fixing the problem himself and winning gold.
Randleman’s MMA career has had its own highlights. He won the UFC heavyweight title in 1999 with very little training or experience and once defended it against Pedro Rizzo at UFC 28. But his best moments were in the ring. from Pride FC, where he competed from 2002 to 2006 and became a star in Japan. In just two months in 2004, Randleman had his two most famous moments when he marked the turning point of his life with a first round knockout of Mirko Cro Cop in the Pride Heavyweight Grand Prix and then almost became the first man. to really defeat Fedor Emelianenko with his iconic “Randleplex” from the Russian.
Most importantly, Coleman simply remembers Randleman as a loving and caring friend who went out of his way to support those around him and deeply appreciated MMA fans.
“He was the most charismatic, energetic, outgoing, kind, generous and generous person,” said Coleman. “Faithful. He was so loyal to me. He was so loyal to so many people. He would help anyone no matter how busy he was. There are stories about him that saved a few guys from it. want to kill himself. The right guy – he was so great, but he stayed humble. Kevin always stayed humble. He was greatness but he was able to stay humble and he always boosted my confidence in me. When we were together, when kevin and i were hanging out together we thought no one could beat us in anything. He just made me feel good and I hope I made him feel good. And he did. there was no one like him, man. As for track and field he could do everything. He couldn’t beat me in tennis though, I’ll tell you. But he could do everything in track and field, and we competed in everything we did.
“He just lifted people up,” Coleman continued. “And I don’t judge a man’s wealth by how much money he has in the bank; I judge him by how he affected others. And honestly, I don’t know anyone – I don’t know any man or person in this world – who has affected people in a more positive way than Kevin ‘The Monster’ Randleman. I just loved the guy. We were brothers. We were definitely brothers.
As for his favorite memory with “The Monster,” even Coleman can’t help but return to the legendary night Randleman shocked the world with his Cro Cop upset.
“How can you get past that?” Coleman said.