Sid Needelman reporting…
I was starting to get annoyed a few weeks back when Mark Coleman was not returning my phone calls. In fact, he is such a likeable guy and always good to those who treat him with respect, I started to wonder if I had said something wrong to him the last time we had spoken. That would explain why I was only hearing ringtones.
Turns out the former UFC Champion and Pride Grand Prix champion was in Japan, so I was relieved when not only after a few days did he call back, but did so at his expense of an international phone call. He was happy to answer a few questions and was happy to reconnect with the American MMA scene.
I wanted to start from the beginning for this piece, and I asked why is it that he thought he could take his wrestling background into MMA. Well, it was jokingly obvious. He and his peers thought they were unstoppable, unbeatable, huge masses of men that could not be messed with. And for a few UFC events and a period in MMA history, he was right.
He literally said he thought “he was the toughest guy on the block,” so to speak. I did have to ask a few questions that only someone who accomplished so much, but has been humbled by his lack of truly well rounded skills, could answer with insight. What striking style would he have mastered if he could go back to being 20 again? He said with a chuckle, “all of them.”
You may ask why he is in Japan right now and it is safe to say it is not because he needs time away from the children he loves, or the Buckeye state, but rather to compete in professional wrestling. It is not the first time he made this move, and if you have ever seen him in a Luchador mask or in a tag-team bout, he seems like a kid in the ring. I can tell that he enjoys the fact the pressure is gone and pro-wrestling lacks the turmoil that was present at Pride 34 when he had his daughters see the blood from Daddy’s face. The blood that Fedor [Emelianenko] kindly had allowed to flow from the former champ’s face.
I then started like a jackhammer with the most exciting of questions:
Will he fight MMA again? Yes
Who will he be fighting for [which organization]? He has been approached by every big name he says.
Where would he like to go? The UFC was his main focus, but mentioned a few others that interested me, but every offer so far as I could tell were informal, or not yet right for him.
Who would he want to face? He paused….
I think I knew who he wanted to mention, and if he did not want to say it, I was going to ask, what about Randy Couture? What about fighting someone your own age, with similar achievements?
His answer was not that he wanted to face him to beat him down, or prove he was the best, but that he would be honored to face him. It would be a sign of respect, and recognition for the promotions and fans to demand it, as that would be the biggest compliment.
He wants to fight again for his American fans, those who watched his Hammer House, his ground and pound, and his life progress. He likes the advantages a cage has in MMA over a ring, and is excited to find his way back into the Unified rules… and into our minds again.