The news of former UFC heavyweight champion Kevin Randleman‘s death rocked the mixed martial arts community on Thursday. Randleman’s family released a statement confirming the legendary fighter’s death and requested privacy.
“With saddened hearts, the Randleman family confirms the passing of Kevin ‘The Monster’ Randleman. Behind the name, was a gentle soul and loyal friend whom will be missed by many who loved him beyond the cage. The Ohio State University, UFC, MMA, and Sandusky, Ohio communities share in the loss of Kevin’s passing,” read the statement released to MMAWeekly.com on Thursday evening.
“While traveling on business, Kevin became ill un-exectedly and passed due to complications from pneumonia. Kevin leaves behind a wife, Elizabeth, and four extraordinary children to share his legacy with the world who mourns his passing. Life without “The Monster” will never be the same.”
Randleman won the UFC heavyweight title in 1999, defeating Pete Williams by unanimous decision at UFC 23. He defended the title against Pedro Rizzo at UFC 26.
After departing from the UFC following a win over Renato “Babalu” Sobral at UFC 35 in 2002, Randleman made his mark in the Japanese-based PRIDE organization. His most defining win may have come in the opening round of the PRIDE 2004 Heavyweight Grand Prix when he knocked out Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic earning 2004 Knockout of the Year honors. He retired from fighting in 2011.
The Randleman family asked for privacy during their time of mourning.
“The family requests respect and privacy during this difficult time. Kevin’s family is grateful for the outpour of love and support.”
The Monster was 44.