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The Hammer: Mark Coleman’s 5 Greatest MMA Moments

(Bonus video: Coleman discussing Wanderlei Silva, Vale Tudo and a tub of vaseline.)

Those of you who became MMA fans somewhere between “Iron Ring” and “Bully Beatdown” might not realize this, but there was a time when Mark Coleman was a holy terror as a fighter. We know, he didn’t look like it against Randy Couture at UFC 109, but give the guy a break. He’s 45 years-old and has been using his body (and sometimes his head) as a weapon to hurt other men since 1996. That stuff is bound to take a toll on you, which is why Couture is the exception and not the rule.

After his loss on Saturday night it now seems like Coleman is done, or at least done in the UFC.  At the very real risk of eulogizing Coleman’s career too soon, as we did with Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic’s – Christ, doesn’t anyone quit this sport when they should? – we’d like to pay tribute to the monster Coleman used to be by looking back at some of his finest MMA moments.

Coleman vs. Don Frye, UFC 10, 7/12/96

Coleman’s first foray into mixed martial arts came at UFC 10 in Birmingham, Alabama. He ran through Moti Horenstein in the first round, then made Gary Goodridge submit simply by taking his back, and then came the showdown of a lifetime against UFC 8 champ Don Frye. At the time, it was sort of like the MMA equivalent of John Wayne fighting Clint Eastwood. Coleman’s superior size, strength, and ability to look really tired without completely collapsing into a heap eventually ruled the day. The headbutt at the 5:22 mark puts a nice exclamation point on things.

Coleman vs. Dan Severn, UFC 12, 2/7/97

(Bonus fun: at the 1:56 mark Severn hits “Big” John McCarthy with a tricky word problem. That’s what you get for asking a smart-ass if he has any questions.)

Severn was an old hand at MMA by the time he met up-and-comer Mark Coleman in Dothan, Alabama. He’d only lost two fights in sixteen outings, both by submission against Royce Gracie and Ken Shamrock respectively. But against Coleman he faced someone with a wrestling ability to rival his own, which proved to be the difference even despite the noticeable lack of an awesome mustache. Coleman may not have known many submissions, but he was quickly becoming a master of the neck crank, a tool that would serve him well over the years.

Coleman vs. Igor Vovchanchyn, Pride Grand Prix Finals, 5/1/00

As with most of Coleman’s victories, this one wasn’t pretty. It was more of a methodical, brutal grind than a work of art, but the end result was a victory in Pride’s memorable Open Weight Grand Prix, which would stand as one of Coleman’s greatest achievements in the sport. If you don’t believe that knee strikes on the ground make a profound difference in MMA, this is the fight that should tell you how wrong you are. It’s also the fight where we find out that too much adrenaline and not enough agility can lead to a post-fight celebration gone hilariously wrong.

Coleman vs. “Shogun” Rua I, Pride 31, 2/26/06

BAD BLOOD? Mark Coleman Vs. Mauricio "Shogun" … by Theuncutsportsshow

Okay, so the fight itself is nothing special. Rua makes the grave mistake of putting his hands out to break his fall during a Coleman takedown, and the result is a grisly arm break that ends the bout prematurely. It’s what happens next that makes this an iconic moment. Coleman was initially so pumped up that he almost didn’t want to let Rua off so easily, and this incensed the Chute Boxe squad, and those guys were always on the verge of starting a riot at any given Pride event anyway. Coleman later apologized, though Phil Baroni remained mostly unrepentant, and fortunately a blood feud with Wanderlei Silva and his clan was avoided.

Coleman and Silva film the greatest TV commercial ever

This is not technically a moment in MMA, but rather a moment in general awesomeness. It’s the kind of TV commercial where, without understanding a single word, you feel like you’ve been taken on a journey that you’ll never forget. This time that journey involves two grown men shaving each other, and from the looks of it having a pretty great time. Why Coleman’s career as a pitchman back home in the U.S. never took off remains a mystery.

Did we miss a historic moment in Mark Coleman lore that you feel absolutely compelled to yell at us about?  Go ahead and have at it in the comments section.


  1. Just_the_tip Says:

    Tue, 02/09/10 - 09:55

    Coleman was a beast when he was all juiced up before the UFC came into the drug testing/sanctioned/respectability era. Imo, it's nice to see a former juicer get beat by a guy who always did it the "natural" way. You see what I did there? Alluded to Randy by using his nickname as an adj....aw screw it. I'm going home.
  2. ReX13 Says:

    Tue, 02/09/10 - 09:55

    I hated Mark Coleman when he beat up my hero, Don Frye, the first time i ever saw him. I'm glad i am at work and can't watch the video, but i remember it. McCarthy respected Frye a great deal, perhaps too much, because Coleman pounded the Predator's face into a new, interesting shape. Keep in mind, this is before Frye went to Japan, started eating horsemeat, and went up to heavyweight. Well, he went on to be an incredible fighter, so there's that, but i've never quite come around to liking Coleman. Good luck to him in the future, whatever that may be.
  3. PANTERROR Says:

    Tue, 02/09/10 - 10:06

    Was that quinton?
  4. TheFactor Says:

    Tue, 02/09/10 - 10:12

    I am pretty sure the "natural" was a reference to his "natural" ability towards fighting, not that he was not on juice in the early years. And yes good luck to Coleman in the future ... hope he doesnt beat on anymore "mediums"
  5. Mr. Bobo Says:

    Tue, 02/09/10 - 10:17

    The only thing "Natural" about Randy Couture is his nickname. If you think Randy Couture has continued to fight into his late 40's without using any PED's then you are the definition of Naive. Screw Randy Couture.
  6. ReX13 Says:

    Tue, 02/09/10 - 10:25

  7. skeletor Says:

    Tue, 02/09/10 - 10:28

    I think even though it was very recent, calling Tito a d-bag made me like him more then I ever have
  8. Scott Says:

    Tue, 02/09/10 - 10:34

    Um yea, the "early years" of juicing. Yea, none of the fighters today know how to cycle on and off in time for testing. Randy just looks like a shredded 27 year old in his 40s.
  9. SweetAfflictionShirt Says:

    Tue, 02/09/10 - 10:37

    What about when Pride fed him Allen Goes? Brutal. "Folks, this is like something out of the Discovery channel" -Quadros
  10. CheckHisPee Says:

    Tue, 02/09/10 - 10:58

    Regardless of where Coleman's career is at now (finished imo), he was at one time THE man and will always remain an icon of the sport. Now, 2 points off topic, 1) Until the UFC allows knees and kicks to a downed opponent, the whole "As real as it gets" thing just won't fly for me. 2) CP is now advertising CP ON CP? Seems a little redundant, no?
  11. robthom Says:

    Tue, 02/09/10 - 11:08

    "I think even though it was very recent, calling Tito a d-bag made me like him more then I ever have" +1 That reintroduced me to Mark Coleman. I always thought he was a nice enough guy, but now he's my buddy.
  12. Kimbos Bread Says:

    Tue, 02/09/10 - 11:30

    I fucking love Coleman no matter what. He will always be a legend in my books. Right up there with The Natural.
  13. steampunk22 Says:

    Tue, 02/09/10 - 11:48

    I always thought it was interesting that Coleman deemed it appropriate to bring his 8 year old daughter to watch one of his fights. Coleman holding his daughter in the ring while she is bawling and clearly terrified that a bad man hurt her daddy is one of the worst things I have ever seen. You can see, but not hear, Coleman say the word's "Daddy's Ok, Daddy's Ok" while the emotional trauma sets in to this poor kid. Thats just FUCKED.
  14. DazedNConfused Says:

    Tue, 02/09/10 - 12:56

    Gotta love Coleman. He was such a beast in his prime. Ground n Pound from hell. Sad to see him still fighting because he has no other way to provide for himself. Get the man a broadcasting gig somewhere, or well more Banana commercials form Japan!!!
  15. Smitty Says:

    Tue, 02/09/10 - 01:29

    Nice tribute to Coleman CP. I think he does deserve respect. I'm glad he'll have the option to end his career with the UFC, although I don't think he'll do it. He'll have to keep fighting for financial reasons which, will make his ending more Ken Shamrockish.
  16. Get Off Me Says:

    Tue, 02/09/10 - 02:58

    In the first vid that kerr guy either made a quick drop off by the dumpster or he just pissed away about $800.00 worth of gear......let's hope for his sake it was the former. @skeletor u beat me to the punch. @smitty I think Dana said he would set him up with a job for life, which i think would be nice. No more fights for Coleman plz.
  17. Under Banga Says:

    Tue, 02/09/10 - 03:00

    I personally love the scene from the smashing machine where Mark Kerr asks Bas to "Knock Ricco out, for letting him down" ...And Bas does what he`s told.
  18. Robocop Didnt Tap Says:

    Tue, 02/09/10 - 03:55

    Nobuhiko Takada...here, take my ankle...PLEASE!
  19. ghostboner Says:

    Wed, 02/10/10 - 12:47

    @ CP - Damn yous and your infuriating ads that pop up every time the mouse drags over them!!! The one on the side wasn't enough? You have to put the Caddy ad at the top now? I know you guys got to get paid and all but two of them is borderline molestation. Coleman is pretty awesome in my book. I would rather not see him take anymore beatings though.
  20. Horror Fighter Says:

    Wed, 02/10/10 - 07:31

    I lost my taste for bananas.
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