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Mark Coleman (born December 20, 1964) is an Americanmarker mixed martial artist, professional wrestler, former NCAA collegiate wrestler and former Olympic amateur wrestler. In MMA, he was the UFC 10 and UFC 11 tournament champion, the first Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight champion, and the PRIDE Fighting Championships 2000 Open Weight Grand Prix champion. At UFC 82 Coleman was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame.

Coleman is credited with proving the ability of wrestlers to dominate in the developing sport of mixed martial arts, and with being one of the first in American MMA to successfully use the strategy that came to be known as ground-and-pound. Coleman is known these days as the 'Godfather of Ground & Pound'.


Mark Coleman was born in Fremont, Ohiomarker, U.S.marker in 1964. He began freestyle wrestling as a teenager, and wrestled for Miami Universitymarker, in Ohio, where he was a two time Mid-American Conference wrestling champion. In his senior year, he transferred to Ohio State Universitymarker and won an NCAA championship. Out of college, Coleman was awarded a spot on the US Wrestling team, placing seventh overall in the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelonamarker, Spainmarker.

Ultimate Fighting Championship

Following his amateur career, Coleman made the transition to the then-new sport of mixed martial arts, winning his first two tournaments, UFC 10 where he beat defending champion Don Frye and UFC 11 in 1996, and becoming the UFC's first heavyweight champion when he submitted Dan Severn via neck crank at UFC 12.

Coleman made his first title defense at UFC 14, facing the kickboxer Maurice Smith. In what turned out to be a long battle, Coleman lost a decision after 21:00 (regulation plus two overtimes) to Smith. Realizing his stamina was not able to sustain fighting for so long, Coleman took nearly a year off and returned at UFC 17, facing up and coming Lion's Den fighter Pete Williams. In what turned out to be another long and strenuous battle, Coleman appeared to be completely exhausted after 10 minutes, even resting his hands on his knees during the fight. Taking advantage of Coleman's fatigue, Williams landed a heavy kick to the face, knocking Mark Coleman out for the first time in his career.

After nearly eight months of recuperation and training, including training with Ken Shamrock and the Lion's Den, Coleman returned at UFC 18 to face feared Brazilian striker Pedro Rizzo. After 15:00 the fight went to the judges and gave a split decision win to Rizzo.

PRIDE Fighting Championships

From 1999 through 2006, Coleman continued his career with Japanesemarker promotion, PRIDE Fighting Championships while also making appearances with the professional wrestling promotion HUSTLE. He won the PRIDE 2000 Open Weight Grand Prix tournament defeating Masaaki Satake, Akira Shoji, Kazuyuki Fujita, and Igor Vovchanchyn. Coleman's training and 2000 tournament victory are depicted in the documentary The Smashing Machine: The Life and Times of Extreme Fighter Mark Kerr.

After a quick TKO victory over Allan Goes at PRIDE 13, Coleman faced possibly his toughest challenge ever in Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at PRIDE 16. "Minotauro" was able to catch Coleman in a triangle/armbar at 6:10 of the first round, breaking Coleman's six fight winning streak.

Coleman would take nearly two years off following the fight with Nogueira, spending time with his wife and children, and focusing on developing his martial arts training facility and stable of fighters at Team Hammer House. Training such fighters as Kevin Randleman, Wes Sims, Brandon Lee Hinkle and Phil Baroni, Team Hammer House quickly gained a reputation of turning out world class fighters.

Coleman returned to MMA competition at PRIDE 26 to face Don Frye in a rematch of their meeting at UFC 10; this proved to be a much tougher battle. Coming back from a career threatening neck injury, Coleman ultimately won a unanimous decision victory after 20 minutes. Following the fight, Coleman apologised to the fans for the lack of action during the fight, in which he had spent the majority of the time in taking down and maintaining positional dominace of Frye with his superior wrestling ability.

Between training fighters and spending time with his family, Coleman was now fighting roughly once a year. He returned to competition to take place in the PRIDE 2004 Heavyweight Grand Prix, as the returning Grand Prix champion in the Open Weight Division. His first round match at PRIDE Total Elimination 2004 was against PRIDE heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko. In what turned out to be a short bout, Coleman was submitted by armbar at 2:11 of the first round, eliminating him from the tournament.

Coleman returned to the Pride ring in February 2005, this time facing Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipović at PRIDE 29: Fists of Fire. Suffering the second knockout of his career, Coleman fell to strikes by "Cro Cop" in the first round. In November 2005, Coleman appeared in Bushido Europe-Rotterdam Rumble, Europe's first Bushido event, and choked out Milco Voorn at 0:56 of the first round.

Coleman returned to action at PRIDE 31 with a victory over Chute Boxe team member Mauricio "Shogun" Rua after the fight was stopped when Shogun suffered a dislocated elbow during a Coleman takedown. With Team Hammer House member Phil Baroni in his corner, Coleman began the match by taking Shogun to the ground. At 0:49 of the first round, Rua got up and as he took the first step Coleman grabbed his feet. Rua fell awkwardly and broke his arm. Coleman continued to fight, peppering Rua with strikes before the referee stopped the fight but not before Coleman threw the referee aside and began to shout at Murilo Rua, Mauricio's brother, who entered the ring following the injury. With the referee still holding Coleman, Chute Boxe members come charging to the ring to protect their teammate. In the flash of an eye, amongst the hordes of managers, trainers, PRIDE officials, judges, referees and security people all in the ring trying to separate everyone, Wanderlei Silva charged into the ring and went after Coleman. Then in the next instant, Coleman training partner Phil Baroni went after Silva.

Backstage in his post-fight interview, Coleman stated that the whole melee happened in the heat of the moment and that he didn’t blame the Chute Boxe team for coming in and backing their fighter. He then added that similar to Chute Boxe, Hammer House is also like a family, and thanked Baroni for coming in and watching his back. An outraged Chute Boxe refused to accept Coleman's backstage apology. The Chute Boxe team was assigned a yellow card for instigating this infraction.

On October 21 2006, Coleman again faced PRIDE heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko at PRIDE's first Americanmarker show, PRIDE 32: The Real Deal, and lost via submission (armbar) at 1:17 of round two.

Coleman appeared with teammate, Kevin Randleman, on the USmarker pay-per-view broadcast of the final PRIDE event, PRIDE 34: Kamikaze, stating that he intended to keep fighting.

Return to UFC (2008–present)

At UFC 82, Coleman was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame, making him the 5th inductee. Coleman announced that he was not retiring and would return to the octagon to fight Brock Lesnar on August 9 in Minneapolismarker at UFC 87. However, Coleman injured his knee while training, and was forced to pull out of the event. Heath Herring replaced Coleman for the fight.

On October 1, 2008, UFC announced a rematch against Shogun Rua in the Co-Main Event at 205 lb at UFC 93 in Dublinmarker, Irelandmarker,a match he lost via TKO in the third round. Mark Coleman was disappointed at his loss and expressed an interest in fighting Shogun again. Mark was visibly exhausted after the first round, with Joe Rogan commentating that he looked "like a confused old man". Despite losing, Coleman expressed interest in a rubber match and was angry that he lost so close to the end—with 24 seconds remaining—though he visibly looked exhausted.

Mark Coleman defeated Stephan Bonnar by unanimous decision at UFC 100 on July 11, Coleman showed good cardio and utilised his wrestling to keep Bonnar grounded whilst landing effective ground and pound. At age 44, Coleman became the oldest fighter to ever win a match in the UFC, eclipsing the mark previously held by Randy Couture by 139 days. His next fight was scheduled to be against Tito Ortiz at UFC 106. In an October 5, 2009 tweet, Tito reported that the fight is now off. Coleman was eventually replaced by Forrest GriffinColeman is rumored to be fighting Randy Couture at UFC 109 in Feburuary 2010. This will be the first time two UFC hall of famers have competed against each other in the UFC.

Coleman has verbally agreed to fight against fellow hall of famer Randy Couture at UFC 109, although the bout has not yet been finalized. If signed, the bout will mark the first time UFC hall of famers have fought in the Octagon, The pair were scheduled to meet at UFC 17 in 1998, but a Couture injury forced the cancellation of the bout. The legendary pair wrestled one another in a freestyle match at the 1989 Olympic Festival at Oklahoma State. Coleman won the match by one point. This fight will mark the oldest combined age of fighters to go head to head in the UFC.

Personal life

Coleman has two daughters.

He appeared in the documentary The Smashing Machine: The Life and Times of Mark Kerr alongside fellow fighter Mark Kerr.

In June 2006, it was announced that Coleman was one of the new coaches in the International Fight League, but unable to assemble a team, he was replaced by Ken Shamrock.


Result Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Randy Couture UFC 109 February 6, 2010 Las Vegas, Nevadamarker, USAmarker Light Heavyweight bout
align="center" Win 16–9 Stephan Bonnar Decision (Unanimous) UFC 100 2009-07-11 3 5:00 Las Vegas, US
align="center" Loss 15–9 Mauricio Rua TKO (Punches) UFC 93: Franklin vs. Henderson 2009-01-17 3 4:36 Dublin, Irelandmarker Won Fight of the Night. Debut at 205 lbs
align="center" Loss 15–8 Fedor Emelianenko Submission (Armbar) PRIDE 32: The Real Deal 2006-10-21 2 1:15 Las Vegas, US
align="center" Win 15–7 Mauricio Rua TKO (Broken Arm) PRIDE 31: Unbreakable 2006-02-26 1 0:49 Saitama, Japan
align="center" Win 14–7 Milco Voorn Submission (Arm-Triangle) Bushido Europe-Rotterdam Rumble 2005-10-09 1 0:56
align="center" Loss 13–7 Mirko Filipović KO (Punches) PRIDE 29: Fists Of Fire 2005-02-20 1 3:40 Saitama, Japan
align="center" Loss 13–6 Fedor Emelianenko Submission (Armbar) PRIDE Total Elimination 2004 2004-04-25 1 2:11 Saitama, Japan PRIDE 2004 Heavyweight GP Opening Round
align="center" Win 13–5 Don Frye Decision (Unanimous) PRIDE 26: Bad to the Bone 2003-06-08 3 5:00
align="center" Loss 12–5 Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira Submission (Triangle/Armbar) PRIDE 16: Beasts From The East 2001-09-24 1 6:10
align="center" Win 12–4 Allan Goes KO (Knees) PRIDE 13: Collision Course 2001-03-25 1 1:19
align="center" Win 11–4 Igor Vovchanchyn Submission (Knees) PRIDE Grand Prix 2000 Finals 2000-05-01 2 3:09 Won PRIDE 2000 Openweight GP Final
align="center" Win 10–4 Kazuyuki Fujita TKO (Corner Stoppage) PRIDE Grand Prix 2000 Finals 2000-05-01 1 0:02 PRIDE 2000 Openweight GP Semifinal
align="center" Win 9–4 Akira Shoji Decision PRIDE Grand Prix 2000 Finals 2000-05-01 1 15:00 PRIDE 2000 Openweight GP Quarterfinal
align="center" Win 8–4 Masaaki Satake Submission (Neck Crank) PRIDE Grand Prix 2000 Opening Round 2000-01-30 1 1:14 PRIDE 2000 Openweight GP Opening Round
align="center" Win 7–4 Ricardo Morais Decision PRIDE 8 1999-11-21 2 10:00 Tokyo, Japanmarker
align="center" Loss 6–4 Nobuhiko Takada Submission (Heel Hook) PRIDE 5 1999-04-29 2 1:44
align="center" Loss 6–3 Pedro Rizzo Decision (Split) UFC 18: Road to the Heavyweight Title 1999-01-08 1 15:00
align="center" Loss 6–2 Pete Williams KO (Head Kick) UFC 17: Redemption 1998-05-15 1 12:38 Mobile, Alabamamarker
align="center" Loss 6–1 Maurice Smith Decision (Unanimous) UFC 14: Showdown 1997-07-27 1 21:00 Lost UFC Heavyweight title
align="center" Win 6–0 Dan Severn Submission (Neck Crank) UFC 12: Judgement Day 1997-02-07 1 2:57 Won first ever UFC Heavyweight title
align="center" Win 5–0 Brian Johnston Submission (Strikes) UFC 11: The Proving Ground 1996-09-20 1 2:20 Won UFC 11 Tournament
align="center" Win 4–0 Julian Sanchez Submission (Choke) UFC 11: The Proving Ground 1996-09-20 1 0:45
align="center" Win 3–0 Don Frye KO (Punches) UFC 10: The Tournament 1996-07-12 1 11:34 Birmingham, Alabamamarker Won UFC 10 Tournament
align="center" Win 2–0 Gary Goodridge Submission (Position) UFC 10: The Tournament 1996-07-12 1 7:00 Birmingham, Alabamamarker, US
align="center" Win 1–0 Moti Horenstein TKO (Strikes) UFC 10: The Tournament 1996-07-12 1 2:43 Birmingham, Alabamamarker, US

Championships and accomplishments

Amateur wrestling

  • NCAA champion
  • FILA World Freestyle Wrestling championship 100 kg 2nd place (1991)
  • 7th place 1992 Summer Olympics freestyle wrestling (100 kg class)

Mixed martial arts


  1. " In fact, he's known as the "Godfather of Ground & Pound". Mark Coleman has got such a long list of wrestling titles, but it's when he stepped into mixed martial arts that he really proved the dominance of wrestlers who can go into the guard and strike or take you down and strike. He is the man responsible for coining the term 'ground and pound,'" referring to his ability to takedown and then punch, elbow, and knee his way to victory. (Stephen Quadros, PRIDE 16, 2001).
  2. Chute Boxe-Hammer House Rivalry Reaches Boiling Point
  5. [1] - UFCStats, 2009-08-26
  10. (Living Legend: Coleman with his daughters after losing to Fedor Emelianenko, 2006.)

External links

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