Mark Coleman made his professional mixed martial arts debut back in July of 1996. He entered the field of participants for the UFC 10 heavyweight tournament, and three fights later he’d battered the likes of Moti Horenstein, Gary Goodridge and Don Frye.
Coleman finished all fights inside the distance, utilizing sinister ground and pound to capture the tourney title. He also revolutionized the art of ground and pound. Prior to Coleman’s achievements, none had managed such effectiveness in grounding and subsequently destroying foes with relentless power shots.
The man appeared all but unstoppable.
But Coleman would run into rocky times, dropping four consecutive bouts beginning with his UFC 14 clash with Maurice Smith.
Nevertheless, “The Hammer” would rebound impressively. Coleman eventually won the Pride 2000 Grand Prix and earned a few marquee victories in the years to follow.
Father Time and an assortment of injuries would hinder Coleman in the latter portions of his career. All the same, the two-promotional tournament winner always showed up to fight, and while his time has (realistically) come to depart the sport while still in fair health, it’s a sad day to see another MMA pioneer announce his departure from the sport.
But that’s exactly what Coleman did today.
Hitting his Facebook page to bring fans up to speed, Coleman made it known that, “‘The Hammer’ is done fighting. I know, [I’ve] been done. Just looking for some [prayers]. I thank everyone who will help me get through this. [You] have to pay to play sometimes. [My] only regret is [I] could have worked harder. Love you all. Live your dream.”
I’m certain the fact that Coleman faces, “Total hip replacement next Monday,” doesn’t help the situation.
Prior to gaining fame as one of MMA’s early greats Coleman was a NCAA Division I wrestling champion at Ohio State University and represented the United States in the 1992 Summer Olympics.
He retires with an official MMA record of 16-10, with notable victories over Don Frye, Dan Severn, Igor Vovchanchyn and Mauricio “Shogun" Rua.
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