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A piece of MMA’s soul and history just died with Kevin Randleman’s passing

By Zach Arnold | February 11, 2016

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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.

And now he’s dead at the age of 44 due to heart failure.

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.

Topics: Japan, MMA, Media, PRIDE, UFC, Zach Arnold | 9 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

9 Responses to “A piece of MMA’s soul and history just died with Kevin Randleman’s passing”

  1. Tradition Rules says:

    Wow, just 44 years old….he is (WAS) two years younger than me

    Even though this is all about Kevin Randelman, it is also a smalll reminder to do what we can to take care of ourselves.

    Wonder what will be discovered as the reason for his heart failure.

    A shame, so young….

    • rst says:

      He always did seem to have health issues for some reason.
      All those horrible staph infections.

      Some people can be like that, like shogun or Cain.
      A completely brick house athlete in one way, and then perpetually fragile in another.

      Of course we might suspect the unregulated nature of early MMA could have contributed. But lets give it some time out of respect before wondering about that.

  2. King Famous says:

    One of the greats. Rest In Piece Kevin Randleman.

  3. 45 Huddle says:

    I met him before UFC 30 way back in the day. Super nice guy. Sad to hear he died.

    Of course this was before the UFC was more popular and you could just go up to fighters and have a conversation with them.

    He was certainly one of the pioneers of the sport. Doesn’t get much more authentic then Randleman.

  4. rst says:

    Thats crazy!

    Didn’t I just see him in that Superbowl video a few days ago? First time I’d seen him in years and he looked good.

    But weird things happen. I just had a close uncle die of heart failure last month, out of the blue.
    And he seemed to be just fine before that happened to.

    A lot of people passing ever since the end of last year into this year. This is gonna be a weird year.

    Rest in Piece Monster.

  5. david m says:

    RIP to the most explosive athlete in mma history. I can’t think of anyone remotely like him in the history of the sport. PS his loss in the rematch with Mirko was almost certainly a work.

    • rst says:

      Its arguable that a large portion on the Monsters post UFC career were works.

      But that was an important aspect of nacent MMA to.

  6. 45 Huddle says:

    I would also say a piece of MMA’s soul and history died last night with that Bellator event. Just pathetic on all levels.


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