Former Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight champion Mark Coleman says he was a victim of a now-deceased Ohio State University team doctor who is accused of sexually abusing over 100 former students, he confirmed in a statement released on Thursday. The physician, Dr. Richard Strauss, has been accused of abusing his position to sexually assault students and university athletes, including multiple members of the wrestling team.
Coleman wrestled for Ohio State in 1988 as a senior transfer, winning a national championship in his only year with the school, then took a position as an assistant wrestling coach there. While coaching for Ohio State, he continued to wrestle as an amateur, winning a gold medal in the 1991 Pan American Games and coming in 7th at the 1992 Olympics, before pursuing a career in mixed martial arts.
Coleman stated that he wants to cooperate with investigators. He also denied previous statements that he believed former assistant coach Jim Jordan, who is now a Republican congressman representing Ohio and a frontrunner for Speaker of the House, was aware of the alleged sexual abuse going on. Coleman claims any statements to that effect were misquoted or misinterpreted, and that he does not know whether Rep. Jordan had knowledge of any misconduct while Jordan was an assistant coach at the university from 1987 to 1995. Jordan has denied any knowledge of the abuses that have been alleged.
“The Hammer” won two UFC one-night tournaments before claiming its inaugural heavyweight championship at UFC 12 in 1997, then shocked the MMA world by winning the 2000 Pride Fighting Championships Grand Prix. He was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame in 2008.