Former UFC heavyweight champion Kevin “The Monster” Randleman has died at the age of 44.
Fox Sports reported that the two-time NCAA champion wrestler had been admitted into a hospital in San Diego as he was suffering from Pneumonia. He later died because of heart failure. Randleman made it to the top early on in his career, becoming the heavyweight champion of the world three fights after his debut in 1999. He was a UFC icon, following in the footsteps of fellow Ohio State alumni Mark Coleman.
According to the Independent, Randleman’s family released the following statement on his Facebook page:
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.
Randleman has a record of 17 wins and 16 losses and left the sport in 2011 when he retired. He was a three-time All-American, whose greatest moment was arguably when he knocked out crowd favorite Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic in the PRIDE Fighting Championships in 2004.
Messages have been pouring in from around the world on social media from the MMA community who admired and respected Randleman, sending condolences to his four children and wife Elizabeth Broglia. Rich Franklin, Bas Rutten, Tyson Griffin, Jens Pulver and Jake Shields have all expressed their sadness at Randleman’s early passing.