Paul Varelans

UFC pioneer Paul Varelans passed away Saturday in Atlanta, Ga at the age of 51 after battling Covid-19 for more than a month. Varelans had been diagnosed with the virus in December and as his condition worsened he had to be placed on a ventilator in a medically induced coma.

Known as "The Polar Bear" the 6-foot-8-inch 300-pound Varelans debuted back at UFC 6 in 1995. During his career he fought a host of notables including Dan Severn, Mark Kerr and David "Tank" Abbott. Perhaps his most memorable performance came at UFC 7 where he made the finals of an eight-man tournament only to lose to Marco Ruas in a bout that lasted more than 13 straight minutes, one of the longest tournament battles the promotion had ever seen.

Black Belt Magazine has a storied history that dates back all the way to 1961, making 2021 the 60th Anniversary of the world's leading magazine of martial arts. To celebrate six decades of legendary martial arts coverage, take a trip down memory lane by scrolling through some of the most influential covers ever published. From the creators of martial art styles, to karate tournament heroes, to superstars on the silver screen, and everything in between, the iconic covers of Black Belt Magazine act as a time capsule for so many important moments and figures in martial arts history. Keep reading to view the full list of these classic issues.

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Black Belt is proud to announce NEW online mini-courses with Sifu Damien Chauremootoo.

In Australia, one reality-based training organization stands out: Empower Tactical in Melbourne. Under the leadership of Damien Chauremootoo, Empower Tactical has built a reputation for results in the self-defense world, and now its courses, which combine street savvy and a scientific knowledge of biomechanics with proven strategies and effective techniques, are being made available around the world.

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Though he won't be participating in this weekend's UFC lightweight championship fight, Conor McGregor is now number one in another type of competition, garnering the top spot on Forbes' list of the world's highest paid athletes. According to Forbes, McGregor earned $180 million between May 1, 2020 and May 1, 2021 landing him ahead of athletes like soccer stars Lionel Messi ($130 million), Cristiano Ronaldo ($120 million) and NFL quarterback Dak Prescott ($107.5 million).

The vast majority of McGregor's income came from the sale of his whiskey company, Proper No. Twelve, for $150 million. Along with various endorsement deals which brought his out of competition total income to $158 million, it made McGregor one of only four athletes in history to have earned more than $70 million off the field while still actively competing. McGregor also raked in $22 million for his sole fight of the past year, a knockout loss to Dustin Poirier in January.

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