UFC fan favourite Paul Varelans has reportedly died aged 51 after contracting Covid-19.
The 6ft 8in powerhouse passed away yesterday after a month-long battle with the virus, according to multiple posts on his Facebook page.
And MMA Junkie confirmed his death after speaking to a person close to his family.
Varelans was infected with coronavirus in mid December.
He had been in a medically induced coma at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.
Varelans had continued to keep his supporters on his condition throughout his health battle via social media.
But a few days after his last update, UFC co-founder Art Davie announced the veteran had been placed on a respirator and was in a coma.
The former college football star made his octagon debut at the legendary UFC 6 event in 1995.
He memorably defeated Cal Worsham in the quarter-finals in just 62 seconds with a stunning knockout with elbows.
The pioneer then went on to suffer a TKO defeat to Tank Abbott in the semis.
He got all the way to the final at UFC 7 by submitting Gerry Harris and Mark Hall.
But Marco Raus inflicted another TKO loss on him at the 13:17 mark of the no rounds, no time limit final.
Varelans would make two more UFC appearances.
He earned a decision over Joe Moreira and lost to Kimo Leopoldo at Ultimate Ultimate ’96.
The American’s final bout was a knockout triumph over Dick Vrij on a Rings card in 1998 in Amsterdam.
He finished his career with a record of 9-9.
But it was not only MMA that he competed in, he also led the way for a host of stars to cross over from the cage into the wrestling ring.
Varelans appeared in the infamous ECW wrestling promotion back in 1996.
A host of tributes poured in for the late fighter following the sad news:
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