Last month, UFC Hall of Famer Mark Coleman made headlines when his close friend and fellow UFC veteran Wes Sims set up a page on the fundraiser platform GoFundMe to collect money for hip surgery that "The Hammer" desperately needed. Coleman opened up about his situation in the latest edition of The MMA Hour.
"I didn't know what Wes was doing," Coleman said. "I didn't know what he did, it took off so fast, it was so humbling. I don't know how else to describe it, I was just so overwhelmed. [...] It's definitely boosted my spirits," Coleman said. "Maybe at one point I felt sorry for myself for a few days when this happened, but no, there's people with a lot worse problems than I have right now."
As of this writing, well over $45,000 have been donated on the platform by fans around the world. Coleman underwent a hip replacement surgery two years ago, but still had problems with the hip popping out "once a freaking week." When he finally went to see the surgeon again, it became obvious that a spreading internal infection would make another (partial) hip replacement impossible at that time. Coleman is fighting the infection and waiting to get another surgery, as well as the money to pay for it.
The fact that the first ever UFC heavyweight champion, first ever Pride Grand Prix champion and long time MMA and pro wrestling veteran has to rely on fan donations raised a few eyebrows, especially because it's not the first sign of financial mismanagement. Coleman already sold his Pride Grand Prix 2000 trophy on Ebay for $24,500 last year. Now, he admits he might have made some mistakes in the past and simply can't afford the pride to not take the donated money.
"I don't like to be in this position," he said. "But I put myself in this position and that's a fact. I made some good money, but made some mistakes and put myself in this position. I didn't know (the fundraiser) was going to be set up, but at that point, I'm in no position to say I don't want it. Proud man? I don't care. I'm grateful, thank you, maybe somehow I can return the favor to all these people, every one of them."
The fact, that a 50-year old retired UFC fighter like Mark Coleman still manages to gather over $45,000 from fans and even fighters -- UFC heavyweight Mark Hunt donated $5,000 -- shows, that the MMA community is arguably one of the most passionate and faithful in the world. Coleman is thankful for that and feels that his always fan-friendly demeanor is one reason why people still love him and are willing to help him out financially.
"I don't know what minimum was, some people put $3 in there or maybe $5, maybe some $8 ones," Coleman said. "You just gotta think, ‘geez, you know that guy might have needed that more than I do.' For some reason, hopefully it's because I've been good to the fans, I like to call them friends because I'm a fan as well, when I meet somebody I try to treat them good and that's maybe why I did get that response."
There is no information as of right now, when Coleman can undergo the second hip surgery. He needs to battle his infection first, and this is exactly what the "Inventor of Ground and Pound" is going to do.
"I'm just taking this like a fight," Coleman said on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour. "I gotta fight through this."
Transcription taken from MMAFighting.com