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.
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.
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Tom Gallicchio on UFC Release “It’s Been a Dream of Mine to Fight in KSW”
MMA Latest spoke to TUF 22 and 25 season competitor Tom Gallicchio about being cut from the UFC, and potential promotions that he could sign for in the future.
Gallicchio (19-10) signed for the UFC after reaching the semi-finals of The Ultimate Fighter: Season 25. Losing to James Krause in his debut, “Da Tank” was informed earlier this month that the UFC had parted ways with him.
Q: Before we jump into the whole free agency stuff, talk me through how the UFC broke the news that they were going to release you?
I thought I was going to have another fight, this time at lightweight. I got a letter dated July 7th, saying they were going to keep me, I received it in September. I was getting emails to update my USADA, I never got a cut letter and I got tested by USADA on October 24th. I was hoping to fight sometime in January or February, then they broke the news to me that they need to make a room for new talent.
Q: You made your UFC debut against James Krause in July, then 4 months down the line, they cut you. How surprised were you at this somewhat out of the blue decision?
I’m thankful for my opportunity in the UFC and the fact that they gave me another shot, but it was definitely surprising how it happened. They released a newsletter in September welcoming Jesse (Taylor) Dhiego (Lima) and myself into the UFC, all signs pointed towards another fight. Hearing that I was cut was just heartbreaking.
Q: Have any talks started with a new promotion. I saw you name a few on Twitter, the likes of Bellator, BAMMA, KSW and ACB. Who do you see yourself signing for?
I would love to compete in any of those! A couple of them hit me up, one of which I am very happy to talk with. Since they came out, It’s been a dream of mine to fight in KSW. They’re taking care of their fighters, I would love to fight for them. I want to travel, I want to see the world, I want to fight. I’ve got a lot of fans overseas and I want to give them a show.
It’s been a dream of mine to fight in KSW.
— Tom Gallicchio (@TomGallicchio) November 15, 2017
Q: Your long time friend Jesse Taylor was victorious in the TUF 25 Finale, but he has since accepted a 1-year ban for failing a USADA test. What is your take on this given how close you two are?
I know Jesse is not a juicer, I’ve known him ever since I came down to (Team) Quest. It’s probably come from some supplement that he’s taking, it sucks for him. I think he went into a little bit of panic mode, he could have done a better job of handling it.
— Tom Gallicchio (@TomGallicchio) November 16, 2017
I don’t take supplements, if there was a way, I’d still keep myself in the USADA pool just because I believe in a clean sport. I think it’s important we keep the sport clean and if we’re cleaning up the supplement companies then good, because no one else is.
Where would you look to see Tom fight next? Let us know below!
2017 IMMAF World Championships: Finals fixtures
After 4 days of non stop action from Monday to Thursday we have our final 14 bouts to determine the 2017 IMMAF World Champions. Most of these fighters have fought four times for their slot in the final and tomorrow will be their chance to finish off what has been a fantastic week of fights.
Kicking off the action tomorrow will be Michele Oliveira vs. Danni Neilan. Both women have looked extremely impressive in their bouts so far, Oliveira has spent less time in the cage than her opponent after finishing two of her fights. Neilan is the Irish teams last chance of a gold in this competition and comes into this after a war of a last fight. She is constantly pressuring and has solid striking with incredible ground and pound from any position on top.
Joel Aronlainen came down to featherweight after testing the water at lightweight in the European Championships. His lanky build and impressive overall skill set has seen him pick up 3 finishes in the competition so far. His opponent Delyan Georgiev is undefeated and will be a tough challenge for him. Georgiev has dominated the featherweight division at amateur, his gold medal at the European Championships could now lead to him becoming a world champion if he continues to perform like we’re used to seeing him do.
At 155lbs, Vitali Andruhovich will take on top American prospect Quintin Thomas for the gold. Andruhovich has been on the right side of two very close split decisions in this tournament so far. His controversial win over Irishman Ciaran Clarke had many people scratching their heads at the decision. He now has the chance to prove himself with a win against Quintin Thomas. Thomas is the UMMAF National Champion and a very experienced amateur fighter. Racking up 13 wins he has been a dominant fighter in most of his fights, his sole losses coming from sustaining an injury and a split decision loss.
For the Middleweight medal we have a battle of the Nordic fighters. Iceland’s Bjorn Lukas Haraldsson has looked phenomenal in his fights so far, finishing each and everyone inside a round. The Mjolnir fighter has been to many the highlight of the tournament, but has a tough task a head of him in Laallam who’s had half the number of fights in this tournament and looked impressive in both.
Bahrain’s last hope for a medal lies in the hand of Light Heavyweight finisher Murtaza Talha Ali. Ali has finished all four of his bouts so far, 3 via TKO/KO and his last being by way of submission. Standing in his way of gold will be Pavel Pahomenko from Belarus who’s proven to be lethal with submissions once an opportunity arises scoring two submission wins inside the first round.
Here is the full fixture list for the finals tomorrow:
- Michele Oliveira vs. Danni Neilan 125 lbs
- Anna Astvik vs. Hannah Dawson 115 lbs
- Chamia Chabbi vs. Manon Fiorot 135 lbs
- C. McCrudden vs. Fabiana Giampà 145 lbs
- Gase Sanita vs. Kaycee Blake 155 lbs
- Yernaz Mussabek vs. Serdar Atlas 125 lbs
- Gamzat Magomedov vs. O. Moldagaliyev 135 lbs
- Joel Arolainen vs. Delyan Georgiev 145 lbs
- V. Andruhovich vs. Quitin Thomas 155 lbs
- Sola Axel vs. Benjamin Bennett 170 lbs
- B. Haraldsson vs. Khaled Laallam 185 lbs
- Pavel Pahomenko vs. Murtaza Talha Ali 205 lbs
- Irman Smajic vs. Lev Vins 265 lbs
- Atanas Krastanov vs. Marcin Kalata 300 lbs
Why It’s Time to Cherish Michael Bisping and Stop the Hate
Ever since the Ultimate Fighter 3, Michael ‘The Count’ Bisping has been one of the most hated fighters on the UFC roster. Since he was painted as the big bad Brit against the American hero Dan Henderson, Bisping has been the villain. He has played up to the reputation of being one of the biggest heels in the UFC, with his arrogance, trash talk and often disrespectful attitude.
But nothing has summed up Michael Bisping more than the events of this past week. After losing his Middleweight Championship to Georges St. Pierre at UFC 217, no one would blame Bisping for wanting a few months on the couch whilst sinking a few beers before retiring at UFC London in March.
After hearing that Anderson Silva had tested positive for a banned substance, it was announced that Bisping would fill in for Silva to face Kelvin Gastelum in the main event of UFC Shanghai. A fight that nobody else would have wanted. A fight that he has less than three weeks to prepare for.
The fight does nothing for Bisping. Gastelum is a rising, rejuvenated contender and Bisping knows he can not take him lightly. But he’s also seven places below him in the rankings. Although, this doesn’t matter anymore as Bisping has announced this will be his second to last fight ever before hanging up his gloves.
Nothing sums Bisping up better than his comment on Gastelum’s Instagram post “See you in China. Loser buys the beers”.
He sounds relaxed. Perhaps he’s enjoying his last two fights and is at peace with his impending retirement.
In an era all about money, fighters like Bisping are rare and hard to come by. Fighters that only care about one thing, fighting.
Sure, his title reign wasn’t the best. But the UFC offered him the Henderson fight, to bring back some feeling of nostalgia that has been missing in the modern times of the UFC. And who in their right mind wouldn’t want to face one of the greatest ever in GSP.
It’s easy to forget amongst all the trash talk that Bisping has always played by the rules, and been anti PEDs during a time when a majority of the roster was using some form of performance enhancers. Fighting PED users has given Bisping most of his losses and has even led to him losing sight in one of his eyes.
Most of Bisping’s outrageous acts, have been him using a ‘pro wrestling’ act in order to hype up his fights and put bums in seats. That isn’t an excuse for some of his obnoxious behaviour. But when he’s not in the zone, it’s clear to see what a respectful and humble man he is. Like his moment after UFC 217, where he approached Cody Garbrandt to tell him how proud he was of him, or his post fight respect for Anderson Silva, where they both bowed on their knees to one another.
The truth is, Bisping is an incredible ambassador of the sport and one of the pioneers across the pond.
Bisping should be remembered and appreciated as the workhorse warrior who brought absolutely everything he had to the cage every time he fought. He always comes to fight, whether it’s three weeks notice or more. He’s simply tough as hell.
Believe you me Michael Bisping is a true old school legend of this sport and should be cherished whilst we still have him, cause we will miss him when he’s gone.
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