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Ex-UFC Champion Hospitalized After Rescuing His Parents From House Fire

Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

UFC legend Mark Coleman was hospitalized after he rescued his parents from a house fire Tuesday, his daughters said.

The 59-year-old former heavyweight champion was put into an induced coma in intensive care after saving the lives of his mother and father during the blaze in Toledo, Ohio, his manager, Michael DiSabato, told NBC News. He added that Coleman had been alerted to the fire at around 4 a.m. when he was woken by the barking of Hammer, the family’s dog.

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After pulling his parents out, Coleman went back inside the burning building to save Hammer too, DiSabato added, but the dog did not survive. The roof of the home collapsed shortly after fire crews entered the building, authorities told WTOL.

Coleman’s daughter, Morgan, said her father had been “life-flighted to the hospital where he is currently battling for his life after this heroic act.” “Our father has always been our hero and means the world to us. He is and always will be a fighter,” she wrote on Instagram. “The strongest [and] bravest man I know. Please continue to pray for him and our family during this extremely difficult time. We will miss our sweet hammer so deeply.”

Morgan’s sister, Kenzie, shared the post on her own Instagram Story. “I love you daddy if anyone can get through this it’s you,” Kenzie wrote. “My dog already got taken from me please don’t take my daddy.”

DiSabato said Coleman’s parents were not seriously injured by the fire. In a Facebook post Tuesday, Coleman’s mother, Connie Foos Coleman, wrote: “Thank God we are alive. Prayers for Mark ! Thank you to all the firefighters.” She also thanked other emergency services personnel, her family, and people who had sent “heartwarming” words of support.

Mark “The Hammer” Coleman was an early star of the UFC, becoming its first heavyweight champion in 1997. Affectionately known as “The Godfather of Ground-and-Pound,” he won 16 of his 26 fights over the course of his professional career and he was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame in 2008. Before entering the octagon, Coleman had won acclaim in amateur wrestling, winning an NCAA championship at Ohio State in 1988 and representing the USA in the 1992 Summer Olympics.

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