Former UFC heavyweight champion Kevin ‘The Monster’ Randleman has passed away at the age of 44 due to a heart attack.
The tragic news was confirmed by his family on his official Twitter page, stating that he’d unexpectedly passed away due to complications from pneumonia while away on a business trip.
“With saddened hearts, the Randleman family confirms the passing of Kevin “The Monster” Randleman. Behind the name, was a gentle soul & loyal friend whom will be missed by many who loved him beyond the cage. The Ohio State University, UFC, MMA, & Sandusky, Ohio communities share in the loss of Kevin’s passing. While traveling on business, Kevin became ill & un-exectedly passed due to complications from pneumonia. Kevin leaves behind a wife & four extraordinary children to share his legacy with the world who mourns his passing. Life without “The Monster” will never be the same.
The family requests respect & privacy during this difficult time. Kevin’s family is grateful for the outpour of Love & support.”
An NCAA Division 1 All-American wrestler, Randleman’s MMA career began back in 1996 and after a few years competing in Brazil he arrived in the UFC in 1999 where he earned a unanimous decision win over Maurice Smith.
That earned Randleman a shot at the vacant heavyweight title at UFC 20 against Bas Rutten which he’d lose via controversial split decision ruling.
However, Rutten would then vacate the title, handing Randleman another shot at the belt against Pete Williams, and this time he came out on the right end of the judges scorecards to become the new UFC heavyweight champion.
Randleman then successfully defended his title against Pedro Rizzo before losing to Randy Couture at UFC 28.
After a KO loss to Chuck Liddell and decision win over Renato ‘Babalu’ Sobral, Randleman moved on from the UFC and before long he signed up to famous Japanese promotion PRIDE.
Some of Randleman’s most memorable moments would occur in the PRIDE ring, including a two-fight stint in the 2004 Heavyweight grand-prix in which he first produced an ‘upset of the year’ KO against Mirko ‘Cro Cop’ in the opening round, and then suplexed Fedor Emelianenko on his head in one of the most talked about throws of all-time, though he’d go on to lose that fight by submission.
‘The Monster’ would struggle to rediscover that form in his remaining time with the PRIDE promotion, but would go on to fight for other promotions like Strikeforce and Sengoku later in his career before finally retiring in 2011.
“We heard its confirmed, Kevin Randleman passed away,” Bas Rutten stated on his Twitter page. “This is the worst news. Condolences to Elizabeth and their kids, RIP my friend”
“I’m so sorry to hear about the passing of the legend Kevin Randleman,” UFC President Dana White wrote on Instagram after hearing the news. “I just got off the phone with Mark Coleman and we talked about some of our Kevin Randleman stories. RIP Kevin “The Monster” Randleman.”