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The late Kevin Randleman will join the 2020 UFC Hall of Fame class as a member of the “Pioneer Wing.”
The promotion announced the news during the UFC on ESPN 8 broadcast on Saturday night. Randleman will become the 17th member of the “Pioneer Wing,” which honors fighters who turned pro before Nov. 17, 2000. The induction ceremony, normally held in Las Vegas during International Fight Week, will take place later this year and stream on UFC Fight Pass.
Randleman died at 44 years old in 2016 of heart failure after being admitted to the hospital for pneumonia.
“Kevin Randleman was one of the first real athletes in the early days of UFC,” UFC president Dana White said. “He was a two-time NCAA Division I national champion and All-American wrestler at The Ohio State University. He was the fifth heavyweight champion in UFC history and one of the first athletes to successfully compete at both heavyweight and light heavyweight. He was a pioneer of the sport and it’s an honor to induct him into the UFC Hall of Fame Class of 2020.”
Nicknamed “The Monster,” Randleman finished his MMA career with a 17-16 record. Randleman began his mixed martial arts career in 1996 under the Universal Vale Tudo Fighting banner in Brazil. He made his Octagon debut in 1997, taking a unanimous decision over Maurice Smith at UFC 19. Two bouts later, he captured the promotion’s heavyweight title with a five-round verdict over Pete Williams at UFC 23. Randleman defended the belt once before losing it to Randy Couture at UFC 28.
Randleman made his Pride debut in 2002 and compiled a 4-7 record with the Japanese promotion over the next three-plus years, including wins over Mirko Filipovic and Murilo Rua. He also notably squared off with the likes of Quinton Jackson, Kazushi Sakuraba and Mauricio Rua during his tenure.