Early UFC fighter Paul Varelans dies of COVID-19

UFC misplaced one in every of its pioneers to COVID-19. (Jasen Vinlove/Reuters)

Paul Varelans, a distinguished fighter from UFC’s early days within the mid 1990s, died on Saturday after a battle with COVID-19. He was 51 years outdated.

His girlfriend Kim Watson confirmed the news to ESPN on Monday after social media reports of his death over the weekend.

Nicknamed “The Polar Bear,” the 6-8, 300-pound heavyweight born in Sunnyvale, California compiled a 4-Four UFC file and a 9-9 total tally as an MMA fighter. According to UFC, Varelans continued to struggle on the MMA circuit till 1998 after the conclusion of his UFC profession.

Varelans fought on early UFC playing cards.

Varelans fought in UFC 6, 7 and eight in 1995 and 1996, lengthy earlier than UFC grew to become a mainstream success staging month-to-month pay-per-view playing cards.

Varelans was admitted to an Atlanta hospital in December and ultimately positioned in a coma. He documented his expertise with COVID-19 on social media earlier than his situation worsened.

Varelans: COVID-19 like ‘kidney punches they by no means cease coming’

“Finest manner I can examine the texture of covid-19 in my expertise is it’s like preventing a man who focuses on kidney punches they by no means cease coming,” Varelans wrote on Dec. 13.

In line with ESPN, Varelans wrestled and performed soccer at West Valley Excessive College in Fairbanks, Alaska earlier than enjoying faculty soccer at San Jose State.

“Apart from all of his athletic accomplishments, he was simply actually cherished,” Watson informed ESPN. “He cherished children and animals. He was very kindhearted.”

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