The first part of this series, covered Coleman’s transition from amateur wrestling and his rise in the UFC. This part of the Mark Coleman Chronicles will delve into the end of his UFC run and reigniting the flame in PRIDE. The final performance of his initial UFC run in the Pedro Rizzo fight was one he characterized for years as a fight that he had regrets with. To go from that kind of moment whereby he would leave the promotion to eventually reemerge as the PRIDE open weight grand prix champion is the stuff that movie screenplays are made of. A true redemption arc for Mark Coleman of which there were multiple through his illustrious career.
Pedro Rizzo/ Ending Of First UFC Run For Mark Coleman
“I don’t anymore but it changed me mentally. After that, for sure I thought I had that fight won (Pedro Rizzo)….Then I think about it real hard and I was coming off two losses and an ACL surgery. I think maybe that was one of the first times that I didn’t really go out and try to beat him fast and hard. Went out there trying to milk a wrestling match to a close decision instead of trying to finish Pedro Rizzo off. I don’t think he landed hardly anything on me. A few leg kicks….It mentally messed me up because the next thing you know, I’m in the PRIDE grand prix.”
2000 Pride Grand Prix
“I did spend a little bit of time with Pat Miletich. He helped finish me off and give me two or three weeks right before the grand prix. Although I did grind, I grinded for eight months leading up to that grand prix…I was very, very confident I was going to win that tournament. I know there wasn’t hardly anybody besides maybe my family that felt I had a chance but I pretty much knew when I was going to win and when I was going to lose….To come back and silence the critics, it was a great feeling.”