Rumors surfaced earlier tonight that Ohio MMA legend and pioneer Kevin Randleman had passed away at age 44.
We hoped that it wasn’t true, but apparently it is true that “The Monster” has passed away after going to a hospital with pneumonia and then having heart failure.
Noted MMA reporter Jeremy Botter confirmed the rumors on his Twitter account.
Sad to confirm the passing of MMA pioneer Kevin Randleman at 44 years old. Went to hospital with pneumonia and had heart failure.
— Jeremy Botter ()
Randleman was a true pioneer of the sport in the Buckeye State, following in the footsteps of his friend Mark Coleman and entering mixed martial arts after being a two-time NCAA wrestling champion in his time at Ohio State.
A member of the legendary Hammer House team in Ohio, Randleman won the UFC heavyweight championship with a victory over Pete Williams at UFC 23 in 1999 and then defended it against Pedro Rizzo before losing it to UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture at UFC 28 in 2000.
Randleman eventually transitioned to Pride Fighting Championships in Japan and had some legendary fights with the likes of Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Kazushi Sakuraba, Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic, Fedor Emelianenko, and more. His suplex of Emelianenko still makes highlight reels today.
Randleman last competed in MMA in 2011 as he was submitted by Baga Agaev at a Pro FC event. He retired with a career record of 17-16.
Randleman is survived by his wife and three children.
Our thoughts here at BluegrassMMA are with the family of Randleman. RIP to a true legend.