UFC Hall of Famer Mark Coleman has seen and done it all in MMA - he's been to the top of the UFC and was a Pride tournament winner and fought a total of 26 times over his 14-year career. At the age of 48 Coleman has finally given up the idea of taking another fight, though he admits it was an injury that probably sent him in that direction. In a wide-ranging and entertaining interview with MMA Fighting, Coleman discusses the surgery that ended his run and looks back on the highs and lows of his athletic career. First, the surgery - a hip replacement:
"I walked the same day," he said after an operation that lasted less than one hour. "I got real lucky. I had one of the best doctors in the country, period. My scar is four inches. That’s unheard of for a hip replacement. Nobody has a four-inch scar. My physical therapist, I showed her the scar. She said that was the smallest scar she’d ever seen from a hip replacement. It made a big difference in recovery. I woke up from surgery and it was such a relief. I wasn’t feeling so confident going into the surgery. I was a little nervous.
Coleman hasn't fought in over three years, but he freely admits he would have again to make some money if not for this situation:
"If not for this hip, I’d have done the journeyman tour, and collected a few paychecks," he said. "Guys don’t like to quit, wrestlers or fighters. You don’t tell MMA when you want to retire. It tells you when you’re done. I was done. I didn’t know what the problem was. I finally got the MRI done. They told me, 'You don’t even have a hip basically.’"
In a very classy move, MMA Elite re-offered Coleman insurance which covered the costs involved with the surgery:
"I called them up, basically begged them to keep me on," he said. "They stepped up and put me back on insurance. I’m very grateful to them."
In terms of his athletic career, he said that there were four "biggest" moments - winning his first UFC tournament, making the 1992 Olympic team, winning the Pride 2000 Openweight Grand Prix, and beating Stephan Bonnar at UFC 100 at the age of 44. Here's what he said about the Bonnar win:
"That Bonnar fight is still one of my favorite wins of all my wins," he said. "To be able to come back and do that at 44 years of age, that’s one of the few times I actually put the work in. I didn’t move out to Las Vegas, but I had 70 days with trainers. I hated leaving my daughters, but this time I said I had to do it, because it was make-or-break for my career. Stephan Bonnar’s a tough guy. It really meant a lot to me to come back and show people how I evolved. I didn’t evolve enough, and I’ve got a lot of regrets. No excuse. But I did enough to beat Bonnar, and I think he won his next four after that ."
He talks about his UFC and Pride career in great detail in the interview, which is very interesting. He also talks about the recent NCAA wrestling championships, what his plans are now, and a lot more. I highly encourage you to head on over to MMA Fighting to read what he has to say