Ohio State University is under fire after over 100 former students recently came forward with allegations of sexual misconduct by wrestling team doctor Richard H. Strauss, a situation that involves five former wrestlers accusing the school of knowingly ignoring the abuse.
Now one of that athletic program’s most decorated alumnus has revealed that he was also abused by Strauss.
The public relations team for former OSU wrestling and UFC heavyweight champion Mark Coleman released a statement Thursday in which he said he was among the victims of the deceased Strauss, and that he is willing to cooperate with investigators.
Coleman walked back comments he made about Ohio state representative Jim Jordan, who was an assistant coach at OSU during the alleged period of misconduct, which took place between 1979 and 1997 according to the accusers (Jordan worked as an assistant from 1987 to 1995). Previously, Coleman said that he believed Jordan was aware of Strauss’s behavior.
“There’s no way unless he’s got dementia or something that he’s got no recollection of what was going on at Ohio State,” Coleman told The Wall Street Journal in July. “I have nothing but respect for the man, I love this man, but he knew as far as I’m concerned.”
Coleman’s most recent statement now says that he has no firsthand knowledge that Jordan had knowledge of what was going on at OSU.
“At no time did I ever say or have any direct knowledge that Jim Jordan knew of Dr. Richard Strauss’s inappropriate behavior,” the statement reads. “I have nothing but respect for Jim Jordan as I have known him for more than 30 years and know him to be of impeccable character.”
A two-time UFC Hall of Fame inductee for his role as a pioneer and his involvement in a UFC 17 fight with Pete Williams, the 53-year-old Coleman wrestled his senior year at OSU after transferring over from Miami University (OH). He won an NCAA championship for the Buckeyes in 1986.
He competed in MMA for 14 years, winning the UFC heavyweight title in 1997.
Strauss, who committed suicide in 2005, is accused of committing acts of sexual misconduct against athletes and students. In addition to his responsibilities as a team doctor for various men’s sports teams, Strauss also worked in the university’s student health center and taught as an assistant professor of medicine, per The New York Times.
Jordan has vehemently denied any knowledge of Strauss’s actions during his time at OSU.