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.

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