From eyepush on Flickr.
Mark Coleman became the fifth inductee into the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s Hall of Fame last night in front of a supportive 16,431 at the Nationwide Arena in Coleman’s hometown of Columbus, Ohio.
The unannounced induction came as a surprise to the fans inside the arena, who watched as Coleman was honored inside the cage along with his family by UFC President Dana White.
Fortunately for fans around the world, Coleman had a surprise of his own. The former UFC heavyweight champion announced that he will fighting inside the confines of the organization for the first time since 1999 when he takes on fellow amateur wrestling standout Brock Lesnar in August.
“I’m going to dedicate my life to my return,” Coleman told UFC color commentator Joe Rogan during an interview last night. “The fans want to see me. I’m going to do the best I can. Lesrnar is a beast. He’s an animal. Don’t bet the house against me though. I’m going to bring something for Brock Lesnar. I plan to beat his butt.”
The 43-year-old Coleman has not fought since being submitted by Fedor Emelianenko in October 2006. The former Olympic wrestler is one of only three other fighters that won multiple tournaments during the UFC’s early years. Coleman defeated the likes of Don Frye and Gary Goodridge to win tournaments at UFC 10 and UFC 11 respectively.
Coleman became the first UFC heavyweight champion in history when he submitted Dan Severn at UFC 12: Judgment Day in 1997. The founder of Team Hammer House is also widely considered to be the originator of the “ground and pound” style of fighting that has become a mainstay in the sport.
Frank Mir withered a barrage of punishment from Lesnar in his debut fight t at UFC 81: Breaking Point last month before submitting the genetic monster with a patented kneebar midway through the first round.
Justin McCully, who served as one of three special guests on a recent episode of HDNet’s Inside MMA, publicly stated that he was in discussions with UFC officials concerning a return fight from recent elbow surgery against the former professional wrestler. Obviously UFC officials went the other way.