Kevin Randleman, who passed away in 2016 due to complications from pneumonia, would have turned fifty years old on August 10th according to a podcast documentary by MMA TRUFAN. Randleman’s sister, Erica Randleman, first shared his real age with MMA TRUFAN via text message. “August 10 1970 is his DOB. About one year after me,” she continued. “I’m not sure where 71 came from but he didn’t mind if someone thought he was one year younger lol.”
Randleman’s widow, Elizabeth Broglia Randleman, confirmed his age via text message last week, “Yes, August 10th would have been his 50th birthday.”
Randleman seems to have fooled the entire world with this prank. At the time of his death, Randleman was widely reported to be forty-four years old when, in fact, he was forty-five. Wikipedia lists his date of birth incorrectly. Even the UFC reported his age incorrectly a few months ago in his hall of fame induction video.
MMA TRUFAN uncovered other revelations regarding the former UFC Heavyweight Champion and 2-time NCAA Division 1 National Wrestling Champion.
Randleman Saved a Fan’s Life
A fan, named Marcus Sewell, shared a story with MMA TRUFAN from when he was considering taking his own life before receiving an unexpected phone call from Randleman.
“I had this thought that I should really just end my life. I went onto Twitter like, ‘This is the end of the ropes and stuff like that. I can’t take life anymore. Goodbye’”
“I was really going to do it. I went somewhere, found rope wherever my dad’s shed was. I get a notification on Twitter. It was from Kevin Randleman. I think it was a private message. He was like, ‘Hey, are you okay? What’s going on?’ I just flat out said, ‘I’m just about to kill myself.’ He was like, ‘What’s your number?’ and I gave it to him. A couple minutes later I get a call from a withheld number… He said, ‘Hello, is this Marcus?’ It was Kevin, and I broke the f–k down.”
Sewell recalled the stunning moment and mixed emotions he felt at the time.
“One minute you’re about to kick the chair out from under you and the next second you’re talking to ‘The Monster’ himself,” Sewell continued. “He talked to me a lot about what happened in his childhood. About 20 minutes goes by and I told him I want to make a change for myself. He told me, ‘You have to do something about it. I don’t want you to get off this phone and not do nothing about it. Do something about it.’”
“I thanked him and I went and got into counseling. I had never talked about when I was molested when I was younger. If Kevin hadn’t talked to me about it, I wouldn’t have faced that issue. Without Kevin Randleman calling me, I’d probably be dead in the ground.”
The Jaw Incident
One of the defining moments of Randleman’s collegiate wrestling career occurred while he was pursuing his second straight national title at Ohio State. Randleman’s former wrestling coach, Russ Hellickson, recalled a gruesome injury Randleman suffered that nearly ended his season.
“Rex Holman and Kevin were national champs together. They were wrestling in practice together and Kevin lifted Rex from behind and in the flurry Rex fell on Kevin’s side of his face on the mat. Everything stopped and he had dislocated both sides of the jaw on each side of his face. It was actually protruding out. They got him into the training room and they took him to the university hospital. It took them well over an hour to get it reduced back into place.
“At the time the doctor said he was going to be out of competition. Well, we were a week away from the national tournament. We had finished up the Big 10 (tournament) and we were in the middle of practice. (Doctors) said, ‘You’re not going to be able to let him wrestle because there is a chance he could dislocate it again and injure a nerve.’ I said, ‘That is not my decision to make. He’s a defending national champion.’”
“(Randleman) said (that) even at the time when the doctor was telling him he couldn’t compete anymore. He was kind of mumbling through his lips because his jaw was swollen. He said, ‘They’re not going to stop me coach. They’re not going to stop me.’ I said, ‘Kevin, just relax. We will leave it up to you. It will be your decision.’”
Randleman decided to compete in the national tournament the following weekend. It was while he was competing in the national tournament when the most bizarre moment of the story took place. Hellickson continued, “I think we were in the quarterfinal or semifinal match. I can’t really remember but in the middle of action he dislocated one side of his jaw again.”
“We took the injury time and we had our trainer out there and we even had a doctor trying to get his hand in there to get it back into place. The referee came over and said, ‘You’re injury time is almost out. You have fifteen seconds,’ and nobody was able to get it fixed. Kevin pushed everybody away and he dropped from his feet down to the mat and literally bounced the side of his head off of the mat and it went back into place.”
“WITHOUT KEVIN RANDLEMAN CALLING ME, I’D PROBABLY BE DEAD IN THE GROUND.”
However, Randleman’s work was far from over.
“He finished that match and then he got in the finals. We had a guy who had him in a front headlock which would have obviously made it a very painful thing. But Kevin kept his chin pulled down and did a lot of great wrestling in winning that national championship.”
Hellickson reflected on Randleman’s incredible achievement.
“He was committed to being a national champ and that to me was a reflection of what Kevin was willing to do to see through the dream he always had for wrestling and he was a tough guy. He was able to endure a lot of pain and put up with a lot of things. But, it was a good story ending for a guy who was totally committed to seeing the battle out through the end and he did.”
UFC Hall of Famer Mark Coleman was an assistant coach on Hellickson’s staff at the time. He shared his recollection of the incident.
“(Randleman) looks at me and he says, ‘Pop my f’n jaw back into place.’ And honestly, well that was a bit too much for me. You know what I mean? I was like, ‘Damn, that’s too much to ask Kevin. I don’t even know nothing about jaws. But he’s looking at me and he’s saying, ‘Come on, hit me.’ He’s telling me to him in the face, hit his jaw back into place. And I’m like, ‘Oh my goodness. I’m crazy but I’m not this crazy.’”
“So anyways, he dropped down to the mat, slammed his head on the ground a couple of times, stood back up and he looked at me and he looked at Russ and he said, ‘I’m ready to go. I’m good.’”
Randleman went on to win his second straight NCAA Division 1 national title.
Superstardom in Japan
Randleman’s popularity exploded once he began fighting in the Pride Fighting Championships. He later participated in professional wrestling with his longtime training partner and mentor, Mark Coleman.
“It was just an easy fit. I was already doing (professional) wrestling and the next thing you know Pride started their own organization,” he continued. “It just fell into place. Me and Kevin are going to be the American tag team. We got wrestling singlets on, wrestling shoes on and we’re going to whoop your a–.”
Randleman would go out of his way to entertain the Japanese fans. In fact, UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture saw a time when Randleman obliged an unusual request from fans.
“Japan is an interesting place and the fans find out right away what hotels we’re staying at. They literally camp in the lobbies to get pictures and get autographs. Kevin was just one of those guys they loved and would just mob him and he was very gracious and took his time.”
“(He) would even slap them. (Laughs) Which sounds weird but that’s what they want,” he continued jokingly. “But I saw (Randleman) line up six of them and just walk down the line.”
Ricco Rodriguez Introduced Kevin and Elizabeth
Randleman met his second wife, Elizabeth, met through a mutual friend: former UFC Heavyweight Champion Ricco Rodriguez.
Rodriguez explained one of the key qualities Elizabeth brought to their relationship.
“What was amazing about their relationship was: she knew how to calm him down and bring him back,” he continued. “Kevin reminded me a lot of The Hulk. If you got him to the green you’re not stopping him. You gotta get out of the room. There’s no talking to him. And Elizabeth was the woman that would calm him down to bring him back to Kevin.”
“Freakish” Natural Talent
Randleman certainly had tremendous natural talent. In other words, his 4.3 40-yard dash time would have outpaced most NFL running backs and his 38-inch vertical was greater than most NBA players.
Russ Hellickson reflected on Randleman’s abilities when he first recruited him.
“He was dynamic and explosive and scored a lot of points,” he continued. “He was really a talented guy. He had a lot of native ability. It was almost freakish.”