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Looking At The Career Of Kevin Randleman

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Sadly, the former UFC Heavyweight champion, Kevin Randleman passed away after pneumonia led to cardiac arrest in a San Diego hospital. At 44, Randleman is regarded by many as a pioneer in the sport, but the continuous theme throughout his career is, “what could’ve been?”

Randleman grew up in poverty in a rough neighborhood around Sandusky, Ohio, but found solace through athletics and excelled at multiple sports during his youth. He began his collegiate amateur wrestling career at Ohio State and racked up dozens of wins to enter the NCAA tournament his freshman year. Randleman made it to the tournament finals, but was defeated in 1992. However, the following two years, he won the NCAA tournament, putting him as one of the competitors with the highest winning percentage in Buckeyes wrestling history. Entering his senior year in 1995, many anticipated Randleman would have another banner season on the mat and potentially move toward the Olympics in 1996, but he was disqualified from competition when he didn’t meet academic standards after he left his grades slip. If Randleman would have been prepared to compete for his final season, would the Olympics have been his path?

What could’ve been?

Still, an outstanding amateur career opened the door to combat sports for Randleman, as one of his previous coaches, Mark Coleman introduced him to mixed martial arts in 1996. For his debut in the sport, Randleman entered and won Brazil’s Vale Tudo 4. Randleman continued to brawl in Brazil until he had the opportunity to compete for the Ultimate Fighting Championship in 1999, winning a unanimous decision against Maurice Smith. Just two months later, he lost a close split decision to the legendary Bas Rutten in a heavyweight title tournament final. The belt wouldn’t elude Randleman for long though, as he defeated Pete Williams (after Rutten vacated the title to fight at middle weight) to win it in November of 1999. Despite being the champion, Randleman was relatively new to the sport and defeated Pedro Rizzo before losing bouts to Randy Couture and Chuck Liddell. He finished his UFC run with a unanimous decision win in a bout with Renato Sobral, bring his UFC record to 4-3 and improving his overall record to 10-5 before he began fighting elsewhere.

Eventually, Kevin Randleman began fighting in Pride, where he built the foundation of much of his legacy, as his vicious slams and ground strikes earned him the moniker “The Monster” in Japan. After his Pride debut in 2002, Randleman fought top competition in the Japanese league and won most of the bouts over the next two years. In perhaps the pinnacle of his career, Randleman knocked out the legendary Mirko Cro Cop in the first round at Total Elimination 2004, despite being consider a major underdog prior to the bout. The KO of Cro Cop is still a highlight reel moment in MMA history and Randleman would provide another in his next fight against Fedor Emelianenko when he slammed the legendary Russian fighter on his head in a moment that is still talked about today. Somehow, Fedor endured being dropped on his head and submitted Randleman, but “The Monster” had solidified his place in MMA history.

As mentioned, the Cro Cop KO was probably the peak of Randleman’s career and he sustained several injuries over the next few years, including a serious staph infection that required surgery in 2006. When he finally returned to the ring for Pride’s first American show later that year, Shogun Rua submitted him in the first round of the contest and following the fight, Kevin Randleman was suspended for a year by the Nevada State Athletic Commission for submitting a fake urine sample in the post-fight test. The next year didn’t improve things for “The Monster” either when he was hospitalized with serious kidney damage and then several months later, he was arrested for DUI in Las Vegas. In 2008, Randleman won a fight on a smaller card in Japan before he went on a four fight losing streak and decided to retire in 2011. It seems as though the accumulating injuries and health problems had a major effect on the path of Randleman’s career so it’s interesting to consider the possibilities if he was healthy.

Most don’t know that Kevin Randleman actually had a somewhat notable pro wrestling career in Japan between his fights in Pride. The charismatic grappler made appearances in All Japan, Zero-1 and the now defunct Hustle promotion. While all of this took place before the WWE performance center existed, Randleman certainly seems like the type of athlete the WWE would recruit if the program was in place during his prime.

What could’ve been?

Ultimately, it’s a sad conclusion to a legendary career and an MMA pioneer that passed away far too earlier. Injuries and health problems seems to continuously derail “The Monster” when he was gaining momentum in the sport, but as mentioned, the highlight reel moments solidified his status in the sport.

Sincere condolences to Kevin Randleman’s friends and family at this difficult time.

-Jim LaMotta

@jimlamotta

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Sasha Banks versus Charlotte confirmed to take place inside Hell in a Cell

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The first ever women’s Hell in a Cell match has been confirmed for the WWE Network special of the same name.

Women’s Champion Sasha Banks challenged Charlotte to a rematch inside of the structure to kick off tonight’s episode of RAW. Charlotte would accept after being so rudely interrupted by Rusev and Lana as you can see in the video below.

It was also announced by general manager Mick Foley tonight that Kevin Owens will defend his Universal Championship against Seth Rollins inside of Hell in a Cell making this year’s event the first one to feature three matches inside of the dreaded cell.

Here’s your updated card for WWE Hell in a Cell 2016 as it stands tonight:

WWE RAW Women’s Championship (Hell in a Cell Match)
Sasha Banks (c) vs. Charlotte

WWE Universal Championship (Hell in a Cell Match)
Kevin Owens (c) vs. Seth Rollins

WWE United States Championship (Hell in a Cell Match)
Roman Reigns (c) vs. Rusev w/ Lana

WWE RAW Tag Team Championship Match
The New Day (c) vs. Cesaro and Sheamus

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Facelock Feministas Episode 34: Gimmicked

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The Lady J talks herself into some of the gimmicks of Season 3 while also discussing drug use, Taya being industrious, where is Ivelisse and more from Episode 3, Season 3 of Lucha Underground!

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Bellator and The Bad Guy – Endless opportunities

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While most of America watched the New York Jets and the Buffalo Bills play football, a story began to grow on twitter.  Soon it was confirmed, Chael P. Sonnen, The West Linn Gangster had signed a multi-fight deal with Bellator. Imagine the possibilities.  Seriously, right now…with me.

It’s nice to see Chael Sonnen out of USADA jail and free to do his thing again. Whether you love him, or simply love to hate him, it’s impossible to ignore what he brings to the table. He’s a breath of maybe not so fresh air, but needed air all the same.  Here’s a quick look at the match-ups we could be treated to, and yes, I’m a bit giddy.

Chael Sonnen vs. Tito Ortiz

This is the one I want to see. These guys can both sell fights, and Bellator would benefit from pairing these two up and watching the ratings pour in.  The match-up itself, lends itself to two quality wrestlers on the mat, and it is a compelling fight for both parties. I’m all in on this one.

Chael Sonnen vs. Stephan Bonnar

Hey let’s be honest, both of these guys have been flagged for prior steroid offenses, and that alone would make the trash talk entertaining.  Bonnar signed with Bellator and has basically collecting dust since his fight with Ortiz.  This could be a solid farewell fight for Bonnar, and the fans would certainly take interest and both guys can talk and sell a fight.

Chael Sonnen vs. Wanderlei Silva

C’mon if you don’t want to see these two go at it, maybe MMA isn’t your thing.  The two have feuded, had an epic scuffle while coaching TUF and genuinely dislike each other.  Fans would love this fight, and to be honest, it would be near the top of my guilty pleasure lists.  Make it happen Coker…make the dreams come true.

Chael Sonnen vs. Fedor

Fedor doesn’t need a last name, he’s like Madonna, or Cher or….Pink, only he’s a man who doesn’t sing.  Ok, this one, I’m not so interested in.  After watching Fedor battle with Fabio Maldonado, I’m ok not seeing the Russian compete again.  He’s a legend, the goat, and this fight simply doesn’t need to happen.  That being said, it could be a big money fight in Japan and why not line the Bad Guys’ pockets right?

Chael Sonnen vs. Rampage Jackson

The press for this fight would be amazing. These two can work a crowd like few others, and the buildup would be that of legend.  Imagine if Anderson Silva had been able to match Sonnen’s ire and lip in their feud, it would have been amazing.  Rampage can, and Rampage will. Book it Coker!  Please!

Chael Sonnen vs. Bobby Lashley

I don’t know, I just think this would be fun.  Wrestling 101 and Sonnen would either expose what Lashley is lacking, or….would help build a star.  I want to see it.  I’d tune in.

What we don’t want/or need to see.  

I don’t want to see Chael in there with King Mo, Phil Davis or Liam McGeary.  King Mo and Chael would have a solid war of words, but I don’t think the fight makes much sense for Sonnen, and for King Mo, I think he has World Title aspirations at this point.

Phil Davis beating Chael at this point, doesn’t do much for his career. He’d be an obvious favorite of Sonnen, and really, I don’t want to see Sonnen go up the ladder, I want him to be in entertaining fights, so we can skip this one.

Liam McGeary chokes out Sonnen with relative ease.  Who needs that? Not me!  Not on my watch, move it along McGeary!

Ultimate Guilty Pleasure Fight – Chael Sonnen vs. Royce Gracie

Hey, calm down, Royce is still on the active Bellator roster.  It’s not me who won’t let him retire, it’s him who wants to stick around.  Who better to send Royce off into the sunset than the Bad Guy.  It makes perfect heel sense….the hated Sonnen ends the career of the MMA legend and pioneer Royce Gracie.  Not saying Chael needs to murder him, but it would be something I’d watch…and probably not admit to.  You want to get over as a bad guy, beat up Royce.  Worked for Matt Hughes, although now that I think about it, people have always hated Hughes.

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