Kevin Randleman praised by fellow MMA fighters and UFC president Dana White for the legacy he left inside the Octagon.
Former UFC heavyweight champion Kevin Randleman, one of the pioneers in the division, passed away on Thursday. He was 44.
Randleman was admitted to a San Diego hospital due to pneumonia, but eventually succumbed to heart failure, according to Damon Martin of FOX Sports.
On his Facebook page, the family of Randleman left a message for all of his fans, saying: “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.”
News of his untimely death spread, and among the first who reached out for condolences included UFC president Dana White, who attached a clip of one of the best in-ring performances of Randleman:
I’m so sorry to hear about the passing of the legend Kevin Randleman. RIP Kevin “The Monster" Randleman pic.twitter.com/MTC4nFAF29
— Dana White (@danawhite) February 12, 2016
Jake Shields, a former UFC welterweight fighter, also paid his respects and hailed Randleman for inspiring him.
Jens Pulver, another fellow fighter, noted how much Kevin Randleman contributed to the growth of mixed martial arts.
Sad news about my fellow veteran fighter….we saw this thing through when it wasn't the popular thing to do. May you RIP Randleman
— Jens Pulver (@jens_pulver) February 12, 2016
In his MMA career, Randleman amassed a 17-16 (won-lost) record with five knockouts and four submissions. He made his pro debut in 1996, then made his UFC debut in 1999 where he took only three matches before capturing the vacant heavyweight belt against Pete Williams in UFC 23 Ultimate Japan 2.
He would then defend the title against Pedro Rizzo, before dropping the belt to Randy Couture in UFC 28.
Following his stint in the UFC, Randleman subsequently made appearances with Pride FC and Strikeforce before calling it quits in 2011.
Nicknamed “The Monster”, Randleman has fought the likes of Fedor Emelianeko, Roger Gracie, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic, and Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell throughout his 15-year MMA career.