By Zach Arnold | February 11, 2016
If you became an MMA fan in the UFC-only modern era of Mixed Martial Arts, you missed out on all the fun. The pre-Zuffa UFC days. RINGS. And eventually PRIDE & Hustle. You missed out on guys like Bas Rutten, Don Frye, Mark Coleman, Gary Goodridge, and Kevin Randleman. They were not only fantastic athletes but great characters. Fun. Full of life. Crazy. Warriors. They made it worth watching 6-hour marathon MMA events at odd times in the early morning hours.
These warriors have paid a steep price, both physically and financially. Some more than others. But they made MMA. They’re the reason I became a writer and why I cared about the sport for so long. True characters. We have characters today but many of them are manufactured personas. Kevin Randleman was not one of those guys.
I will always remember Kevin for creating some of the sport’s most memorable moments. He found himself in some of the most volatile, wacky predicaments. The guy beat Mirko Cro Cop when Cro Cop was one of the greatest ever. He dumped Fedor on his head. RIGHT ON HIS HEAD! The guy was pure dynamite in the ring and cage. He possessed an element of explosive danger that made his fights so intriguing to watch.
Randleman had very high and very low moments in his career but he was so raw, so talented, and so naturally gifted. The game has certainly changed and gotten smarter with coaches like Greg Jackson. Randleman was a throw back. He made Mixed Martial Arts great and I loved him for it.