In what is a sad news for mixed martial arts fans and community, former Ultimate Fighting Champion (UFC) and two-time NCAA champion Kevin Randleman passed away on Thursday due to heart failure. He was 44.
"The Monster" as Randleman was called, first rose to prominence at Ohio State University where he became one of the most-decorated wrestlers in their history, picking up two national championships and rising to be a three-time All-American. Once he finished college, Randleman decided to follow mentor Mark Coleman into the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), a place where he would gain a reputation as one of the most explosive fighters in the history of the sport.
His legend was cemented in just three fights into his career, "The Monster" beating Pete Williams to win the heavyweight title and then defending it against Pedro Rizzo in 2000. In 2002, Randleman ventured into the far east, moving to Japan where he became a fixture in Pride Fighting Championships. This is where he experienced one of the most memorable moments of his career, facing Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic. He floored the former kickboxer in what is considered one of the most shocking moments in the history of the sport.
Sadly, as time passed, Randleman could not sustain his performances, eventually retiring in 2011 with a 17-16 win-loss record. Hearing of his demise, a number of friends and MMA personalities sent out tweets to offer their condolences. Randleman is survived by his wife and three children.