Mark Coleman knew he was scheduled to do an interview during the UFC on ESPN 8 broadcast this past Saturday night, but he didn’t expect what happened next.
The former UFC heavyweight champion was brought to tears as he watched the announcement that his best friend and teammate Kevin Randleman would join him in the UFC Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2020.
“Emotions, a lot of them,” Coleman said of his immediate reaction to the news during the UFC on ESPN 8 post-fight show. “I’ve been waiting for this day for a long time. I wasn’t expecting it. I knew I was doing an interview with you, but all of a sudden I see my best friend getting inducted.
“I mean, such a well-deserving [honor]. He was a spectacular, amazing guy. That’s right where he belongs in the Hall of Fame. I’m overwhelmed right now.”
Coleman first got to know Randleman when they were both part of the wrestling program at The Ohio State University. It was there Randleman’s athletic prowess twice led him to win the NCAA championship in wrestling before he made move into MMA.
Randleman made an immediate impact during his fighting career, including his win over Maurice Smith to become UFC heavyweight champion.
“Explosive power, talented, athletic, any positive thing you could put with this guy, he did it,” Coleman said of Randleman. “On his best night, he could have beat anybody. I got to train with him. I got to coach him. Such an honor. I miss him so much. I think about him everyday, all the time.
“If you don’t know him, just look. You’ll become a big fan of his. Every fight he was in was a highlight. You got the Fedor [Emelianenko] slam, the Randle-plex, the [Mirko] Cro Cop knockout, some double knees to the head. The man could do anything. When he prepared properly, he was a danger to any person out there and a nice guy. A caring guy. We did everything together. We lived together. We trained together. We fought together.”
As a person, Coleman considered Randleman his closest confidant, not only through their many years training together, but also through countless road trips and fight weeks spent with each other.
“The most charismatic guy I’ve ever met,” Coleman said. “People loved him. He’s missed so much. On social media, he’s got fan clubs all over the country, all over the world. He had his moments where he scared the hell out of you, but he’d quickly come back and apologize, and you just can’t help but love the guy.”
Tragically, Randleman died in 2016 due to complications from pneumonia, and Coleman has missed him every day since that time. That’s just another reason why the UFC Hall of Fame induction means so much to “The Hammer” personally as well as to Randleman’s wife and four children.
“I’m so happy for his wife Elizabeth – she wanted this so bad,” Coleman said. “She’s going to keep his name alive forever. This is right where he belongs in the Hall of Fame. I’m ecstatic. Great night, even though Matt Brown lost tonight.
“We can fix that, he’ll be back, but from one emotion to the other one, just awesome.”