The man who solidified himself as the most feared man in the world. Pride’s very first grand prix winner, Mark Coleman retire yesterday after a long, storied, decorated career as a mixed martial artist. He is 48 years old.
Coleman was a UFC champion in addition to his PrideFC conquests and was ranked as the top fighter in the world for quite some time. Having fought some of the biggest names in the sport, Coleman saw many highs and lows during his career, including a highly questionable bout with Nobuhiko Takada at Pride 5.
During the PrideFC 2000 Grand Prix tournament, Mark Coleman defeated the man who was favored to win it all, Igor Vovchanchyn. Vovchanchyn was seen as a mystical figure at the time as he was on a 36 fight winning streak that included a couple of no contests. Ending the fight with violent ground and pound and knees to the head, Coleman solidified himself as the most powerful man in MMA and continued his career in Pride.
The times were beginning to change and a new breed of fighters were coming up. Fighters such as Fedor Emelianenko, the Nogueria brothers, the Rua brothers, and Mirko CroCop were making their mark on the sport. Coleman, while still winning a match here and there was of a different generation, a different time of the sport. While holding strong against some of the new competition, the writing was beginning to appear on the wall.
A final stint with the UFC proved Coleman still had it in him as he pulled off one of the most shocking upsets at the biggest show in UFC history, UFC 100, against Stephan Bonnar. Coleman took the TUF 1 runner up to a decision that gave “The Hammer” his final win. Upon suffering a defeat to Randy Couture, in a match that featured two of the greatest fighters in the twilight of their storied careers, Coleman began to lie low. He officially retired March 6th, 2013.