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George Pardos’ Tribute to Kevin Randleman

Derek Bowe

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February 11, 2016 the combat sports world lost of its legends, Kevin “The Monster” Randleman. From an outside standpoint Randleman was an absolute phenom, a physical specimen displaying unparalleled athleticism in competition. Whether you remember his devastating knockout of Mirko Cro Cop, his thunderous overhead slam of Fedor Emelianenko, or even the signature orange hair. Kevin Randleman was memorable. His dear friend, and former team mate on Ohio State University’s wrestling squad, George Pardos, offered a side of Randleman few were privileged to have witnessed. Below is his tribute to his friend. We knew him as “The Monster”, George knew him as simply, Kevin.

George Pardos:

I first met Kevin Randleman during his senior year at Sandusky High School where he was wrestling 158 pounds . It was immediately apparent he was one of the best athletes I have ever seen, period. He joined the Ohio State Wrestling team in the fall of 1989.

The first practices with Kevin were interesting as he was red shirting that year, so all he did was wrestle and train. Every week I would go a few matches with him, even though I outweighed him by forty-fifty pounds. When I would throw him his response in joking would be,

“You know why you threw me, cause you are fat.”

I did not mind at all, as it was in the room, and all part of the game we played in messing with each other. 

I taught him some of my Greco-Roman throws, then he would try them and they usually worked. Kevin had this incredible ability to replicate moves he saw with just being showed them once, being blessed with this immense ability, Kevin remained humble despite him being one of the best physical specimens the world has ever known.

That next year Kevin started his first year of wrestling in the line up, beating people that most of the rest had issues with. That year he made it to the National finals before being pinned by Mark Reiland in the finals.  Mark had an awesome year that year, and was going to beat anyone in the finals regardless of who it was. The loss to Mark is what drove Kevin the following two years to move up to 177, upping his workout regimen to achieve his potential.

In the 1992 season, Kevin became nearly untouchable, his only blemishes coming from Lenny Green from Michigan University, a 177 pounder with size 15 shoe size, someone who was difficult to beat let alone score on.  At Nationals, Kevin was seeded 3rd behind Matt Johnson of Iowa State and Rich Powers of Northern Iowa.  He won the tournament by pinning Corey Olsen in the finals for his first title.

While Kevin was training, he would always push others around him to do better. His constant positive attitude, and leadership mentality made him what he was, a real team mate.

In his final run at the title, Kevin suffered a broken jaw, though he pushed it back in, and wrestled through it. His last year he was unstoppable, as he probably had one of the best runs ever in wrestling. Kevin compiled a 108-7-3 record in only three years, unfortunately by his senior year had fallen behind in academics. 

The above is what he accomplished as a wrestler, but it does not describe him as a man, for as good a wrestler, and athlete Kevin was, he was an even better human being. The following are some stories you will ever hear unless you knew him.

In December 6th of 2014, my father died. The following week Kevin called me and said,

“Hey big man, sorry to hear about your pops, he was good people.”

 For those who knew Kevin, he hardly ever called people back, it was in his nature.  We would joke, and ask him if the send button was broke on his phone.  In 2006 Kevin was elected to the Ohio State University Hall of Fame, he thanked me for helping him train over the years, and for being a true friend. He never wanted his success to be attributed to his own merits only as he figured the sharing would somehow lift others to be better. 
In his battle with his staph infection as well as his health, competing was more important to him than anything else. When I asked him about his failed test for the commission, his simple reply was,

“I wanted to compete.”

Nothing meant more to him than being in the arena. 
In the end Kevin had a great heart, he loved his family and loved his friends and adored his children.  Of all the things he accomplished I think being a dad was the thing that brought him the most sense of joy. His love for others was evident in the way he treated his wife Liz, as well as those around him.

We have lost two good men from the team, Major Ray Mendoza and Kevin Randleman,  maybe they are hitting takedowns now in the after life. At least I hope they are.

At the end of the day, life is short and hopefully you meet some good people along the way, Kevin was one of those good people. Rest in peace old friend.

George

For up to date mma news, live event coverage, and more, follow @mmalatestnws on Twitter

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Announcement

Felice Herrig vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz in the works for UFC 223

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UFC 223 looks to add a variety of intriguing bouts. With Paul Felder vs. Al Iaquinta reportedly set for the unannounced UFC 223 card, the promotion looks to add a high stakes female flyweight match-up. According to MMANYTT.com, sources confirmed a bout between Felice Herrig and Karolina Kowalkiewicz, is in the works for the pay-per-view card.

 

Assuming the match-up does come to be, both women have much to gain from a victory. For Herrig, she currently sits on a four-fight win streak. A streak in which the strawweight contender defeated Kailin Curran, Alexa Grasso, Justine Kish, and Cortney Casey. The MMA veteran, Herrig, began fighting professionally in 2009. As of late, her issues with the marketing machine that is the UFC have intensified.

After demonstrating her technical prowess over Justine Kish at UFC Fight Night 122: Chiesa vs. Lee, Herrig put her emotions on display. She stated at the post-fight media scrum, “Sometimes, I feel like, I’m not young and beautiful enough for the UFC to want to promote me. And it’s sad because I’ve really worked so hard to be here and it’s hard to see these people who’ve not been through what I’ve been through. Who just got into the UFC at the right time. They’re getting all these opportunities and I see how hard I work to get here and it’s just like, it doesn’t matter. I just feel like, ‘I’m not pretty enough and I’m not getting any younger'”.

A frustrated Felice Herrig then spoke to MMAJunkie.com in December. She claimed, “Aside from (former UFC women’s strawweight champ) Joanna (Jedrzejczyk), I’m the only strawweight who’s gone on a four-fight winning streak. That’s a fact. At this point, I want to fight someone in the top 10. It doesn’t really make sense for me to keep fighting girls that are ranked below me. That’s the whole point. If I want to keep working my way up. I fight the most dangerous girls outside the top 10”. The #9 ranked women’s flyweight has a point. In her UFC career, she recorded one loss in six appearances. Yet, she has one co-main event booking, while fighters like Michelle Waterson, booked the main event in her second UFC bout. In Waterson’s third bout, she received a co-main event scheduling. Understandably, Felice Herrig is upset with her situation.

Later in her interview, Herrig brought up Kowalkiewicz as a potential next opponent. “For whatever reason, I really want to fight Karolina. I just think that would be an exciting fight… Stylistically, I really like that fight. She’s ranked above (me), and it may be a good gauge for me,” she stated. Right now, it looks like Herrig is close to getting what she wants.

Kowalkiewicz last fought in her native country of Poland on the UFC Fight Pass card, UFC Fight Night 118: Cowboy vs. Till, in October. The Polish star defeated Jody Esquibel, after losing consecutive contests to former UFC female strawweight champion, Joanna Jedrzejcyk and Claudia Gadelha, respectively.

A win for either makes a good case for the next or an eventual title challenger. Kowalkiewicz holds a victory over current division champion, Rose Namajunas. While a win for Herrig would further establish her impressive win streak and undoubtedly give her the boost in the rankings she deserves.

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Douglas Lima found out about change to co-main event at Bellator 192 from the internet

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Bellator 192 fight card has gone through a shake-up over the past week. Bellator president Scott Coker revealed last week that the scheduled welterweight title fight between Rory MacDonald and champion Douglas Lima will now be serving as the co-main event and the heavyweight matchup between Chael Sonnen and Rampage Jackson would instead take top billing. At the time no explanation was made for the change. Monday Douglas Lima was a guest on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani to discuss this change.

“I was little bummed, but it is what it is, it’s business you know. I was pretty excited you know? Being the main event, having Rampage fight as the co-main event, I was happy there. Then I was bummed out that they changed it back to the co-main event. It’s not going to change a thing for me, I’m just focusing on the fight.”

Lima has been notoriously looked over in the eyes of fight fans. A longtime member of Bellator and a two-time champion has not gotten the notice he deserves and hopes to get.

“I found out through the internet, nobody tells me anything, I didn’t know. the same thing happened in New York, I thought my fight would be before the two main events there, but it ended up being the first fight of the night on Pay-Per-View. Hopefully, it doesn’t take anything away from the fight, you know spotlight and stuff.”

Lima is looking to make all the naysayers take notice at Bellator 192 that takes place at The Forum in Inglewood, Califonia on January 20th.

“This is the fight I’ve been waiting for for a long time. To get my name out there, to get people to know who I am. I’ve been delivering a lot of good fights, fights fans like to watch but no attention yet. I’m hoping though that after a win over Rory this week it will really put my name out there and show all these welterweights out there that I am for real.”

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Fight Announcements

Al Iaquinta vs. Paul Felder rescheduled for UFC 223 in April

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MMA fans around the world wept in deep sorrow when Al Iaquinta withdrew from a bout scheduled for UFC 218 against Paul Felder. Weep no more, for Paul Felder faces Al Iaquinta at UFC 223. Rumblings behind the match-up, first reported by FloCombat.com, came Sunday night before MMAFighting.com confirmed the bout scheduled for unannounced pay-per-view card, later in the evening.

 

The original bout fell through due to a severe knee injury to Iaquinta. He spoke to BJ Penn Radio about the injury nearly a week before the December 2nd, PPV event in Detriot. The Long Island real estate agent claimed, “I tore my PCL and my MCL maybe three or four months ago… for me to really put in a full training camp and do what I need to do, I would’ve had to just focus on fighting and physical therapy… it was the kind of thing where all roads led to me not kind of taking a risk and fighting on December 2nd”.

Iaquinta went on to say, “I kind of accepted the fight, but I never signed a bout agreement… I was kind of told I had to give them an answer pretty quick. It was a fight I thought I really wanted. I thought it was a good stylistic match-up for me, so I accepted the fight, and then thinking about it over the course of a day, we realized it probably wasn’t a smart decision for my health, for everything”.

An outspoken lightweight, he is not the first of his kind. Al Iaquinta is no stranger to idly waiting on the sideline for the UFC to make a move. Contract disputes and other bad strokes of luck left the Serra-Longo with three octagon appearances since 2015. The feud between Iaquinta and the promotion comes as a surprise when looking at the credentials of the aforementioned fighter. With an octagon record of 8-2, he earned notoriety as one of the best lightweights in the world. During his time in the UFC, he defeated Kevin Lee, Ross Pearson, Joe Lauzon, Jorge Masvidal, and most recently Diego Sanchez.

His opponent, “The Irish Dragon”, Paul Felder, holds an impressive UFC record of his own. At 7-3, Felder defeated tough competition as well. His record notes wins over Daron Cruickshank, Jason Saggo, Stevie Ray, and Charles Oliveira. Even more impressive than his record, his knockout ratio. At this stage of his career, Felder knockouts 55% of his opponents (10 knockouts in 18 career pro bouts).

Like his opponent Iaquinta, Paul Felder has a separate career outside of fighting. As many should notice, Felder found a role as a color commentator with the promotion he fights for. Following the footsteps in a long line of fighters before him, Felder announced multiple events alongside another new addition to the UFC broadcast team, Brendan Fitzgerald.

PPV card, UFC 223 and its location are not official yet. Despite a lack of an announcement, the event takes place in Brooklyn, New York at the Barclays Centre, according to multiple reports. Currently, the card features no official bouts. Reports state Felice Herrig vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz (per Jim Edwards), and Evan Dunham vs. Mairbek Taisumov (per Farah Hannoun) are both in the works for UFC 223.

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