Former UFC Heavyweight Champion Kevin Randleman died on Thursday at 44.
According to reports, the MMA fighter was hospitalized with pneumonia and later passed away from heart failure.
Born in Ohio, Randleman was an early fixture of ultimate fighting and mixed martial arts, debuting in the UFC in 1999 — and three fights into his career was the heavyweight champion in the world!
Nicknamed “The Monster”, the athlete later spent four years in Japan, where he became a fixture in PRIDE Fighting Championships.
After fading from the spotlight in the mid-2000s, he got involved with the Tapout Training Program.
Randleman attended the 8th annual Fighters Only World Mixed Martial Arts Awards in Las Vegas — where he had been living — on February 5, and reportedly looked like he was in good health.
The athlete is survived by his wife and three children. Our hearts go out to his friends and family during this devastating time.
[Image via Judy Eddy/WENN.]