Mark Coleman, 48, retired from fighting early this year as the first ever UFC heavyweight champion, creator of The Hammer House, UFC Hall of Famer, and the Godfather of Ground n Pound. And his extraordinary resume just grew - "The Hammer" will be the wrestling coach for team BJ Penn on the 19th season of The Ultimate Fighter.
"Me and BJ Penn have been friends since the beginning of this thing, and I consider him a great friend," Coleman told FOX Sports on Friday. "Hopefully he respects my ability to coach some wrestling and hopefully help his team win this Ultimate Fighter. That's the goal to win in the end. I guess he's got confidence in me and he offered me the position to be his wrestling coach on the show. I'm extremely honored and excited to be on the show."
"The word 'honored', everybody uses it too much, but I really am just honored that this guy would want to use me as his coach. I'm honored that he respects me enough to handle this position. I don't take it lightly. It's going to be a serious job to me out there. I don't have a whole lot of idols, but BJ Penn is one of them. I love the guy."
"I've always wanted to be able to give back somehow, and one of the few ways I can give back in general is to help kids like this achieve their goals. I absolutely love being able to help somebody and give back. Hopefully these kids remember me, and if not I'll remind them. We're going to have a great time."
"I'm hoping to do my best to turn one of these guys into a champion. The closest thing to actually being in the ring and fighting is getting to know a fighter, and training him and actually watching him in there."
With the announcement that Coleman will be handling wrestling, Penn appears to have the mix in mixed martial arts convered, with Nova Uniao founder Andre Pederneiras teaching BJJ, Rob Kaman teaching striking, and Jason Parillo handling boxing.
Shooting of season 19 begins in a few weeks, and will debut on FOX Sports 1 in early 2014.