In the past few weeks there has been a bit of talk circling the Internet that Mark Coleman will be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame at UFC 82. The Fight Network, MMAmania.com and many other MMA websites have all mentioned this rumor at one time or another in various articles and blogs.
If this rumor is true it seems a fairly strange move on the UFC’s part. As of right now, the UFC has not appeared to have been in contact with Coleman or made mention of him at any of their live shows. So why the sudden desire to bestow this honour upon him?
Sure you can argue he is deserving. He demolished opponents to win both the UFC 10 and UFC 11 tournaments and then after he neck cranked Dan Severn (now a member of the Hall of Fame) at UFC 12 he became the organisation’s first ever heavyweight champion.
A reason behind this possible new induction could be simply that the UFC want to make the Hall of Fame more prevalent. The Hall of Fame was created at UFC 45 in 2003 and both Ken Shamrock and Royce Gracie were inducted as the inaugural members. Since that time there have been two more inductions with Dan Severn at UFC 52 in 2005 and Randy Couture at The Ultimate Fighter 3 Finale in 2006.
Apart from the initial presentation at UFC 45, the Hall of Fame has been fairly neglected. This possible initiation at UFC 82 could be the UFC trying to promote the importance of the Hall of Fame and at the same time pay their respects to one of fighters that helped build up the organisation.
Another reason for honouring Mark Coleman could be that the UFC is trying to set the stage for the return of Mark Coleman. In an MMA Weekly interview in July of last year, Coleman stated his desire to continue fighting and to even make a return to the Octagon.
At 43 years of age and 3-4 in his last 7 fights it seems a bit of a stretch to think the UFC would sign him to fight but looking at the current landscape in the heavyweight division, the addition of Coleman isn’t so crazy. I doubt very much Coleman would be effective in the division but he would at least gather interest from long time UFC fans who remember his destructive ways in the earlier years of the organisation. Interest in the UFC heavyweight division, aside from Brock Lesnar, is something that has been lacking of late.
Whatever the reason for Coleman possibly being the new addition to the UFC Hall of Fame its at least good to hear that the UFC management is still looking to honour the talent that helped build the organisation rather than being afraid of supporting fighters such as Couture and Shamrock who choose to no longer be affiliated with them.