Former UFC heavyweight champion and two-time NCAA Division I wrestling champion Kevin Randleman has passed away at the age of 44.

Bleacher Report’s Jeremy Botter would later report the Ohio State Buckeye legend was hospitalized with pneumonia before suffering heart failure.

Randleman (17-16) first emerged onto the mixed martial arts scene in 1996, winning the UVTF 4 one night tournament with three straight stoppage wins. “The Beast” eventually made his way over to the UFC, debuting at UFC 19 as a entrant in the Road To The Heavyweight Title Tournament.

After earning a unanimous decision over former champion Maurice Smith, Randleman dropped a split decision in the tournaments final round to future UFC Hall of Famer Bas Rutten. The judge’s decision remains one of the most controversial decision in MMA history.

Randleman later rebounded with a unanimous decision over Pete Williams, earning the vacant UFC heavyweight champion in the process. He would later defend it one time before suffering a third round TKO to Randy Couture, another future Hall of Famer.  Randleman fought just two more times under the UFC banner, suffering a first round KO to Chuck Liddell and earning a decision over Renato Sobral, before jumping over toe Pride FC in Japan.

It was here Randleman took part in many of his most famous bouts, including a thrilling first round KO victory over MMA legend Mirko Cro Cop. For his performance, Randleman earned both Upset and Knockout of the Year.

His follow-up performance would eventually go down as one of the most iconic scenes in MMA history. In front of a sold out crowd at the Saitama Super Arena, Randleman dropped pound-for-pound great Fedor Emelianenko on his skull with a powerful suplex. However, Emelianenko quickly recovered and finished Randleman with a first round kimura.

Randleman would close his career with losses in eight of his next 10 bouts, including submission setbacks to Cro Cop, Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua and Roger Gracie. In his last professional bout, fans saw Randleman suffer yet another submission loss, this time at the hands Baga Agaev in May 2011.

He finished his career with nine stoppage wins, including five by way of knockout.

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José began his career as a mixed martial arts journalist while still enrolled at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Arizona State University. Since graduating in May 2013, he has attended dozens of high profile UFC fight cards as a credentialed member of the media, providing live cage side coverage through his articles and videos. His work has appeared on UFC.com, ArizonaSports.com and AZCentral. He is also currently one of the main contributors on Power MMA Show at Arizona Sports 98.7 FM, one of the first all MMA radio shows on a major radio station.