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Former UFC heavyweight champion Mark Coleman was admitted to hospital in his native Ohio early on Tuesday after saving his parents from a house fire. 

Coleman, 59, was airlifted to hospital after sustaining smoke inhalation after he successfully assisted his parents in escaping the inferno but required treatment after returning to the building a third time in an attempt to save his dog. Reports have indicated that the fire began in the kitchen of the premises, and that Coleman was alerted to the blaze by the family dog. Unfortunately, reports have also stated that the dog did not survive the event.

The cause of the fire has not yet been revealed, and local authorities have said that the house appears to have been destroyed in the blaze.

As noted by MMA Fighting, Wes Sims, a former UFC heavyweight and close friend of Coleman’s, provided an update to social media on Tuesday. “I’m a very firm believer in the power of prayer,” Sims said. “I sent family and some friends a few pictures of Mark Coleman’s current condition. I know Mark, if he could talk he’d say ‘film this sh*t, Wes, we are going viral!’

“Mark’s parents’ house burnt down last night. Mark saved both and went back for Hammer, his dog. He was life flighted to Toledo and is currently intubated and sedated. I swear to God he’s one of the toughest individuals ever created, been through so much a movie at this point could not give his life’s work justice!”

Coleman, who was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame in 2008, was the promotion’s first-ever heavyweight champion and is widely regarded as one of the most fearsome heavyweight fighters in the mixed martial arts history. In May 2000, Coleman defeated three men in one night in Tokyo, Japan to win the PRIDE Openweight Grand Prix.

He returned to the UFC in January 2009 in Dublin, Ireland where he was defeated by Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua, levelling his series with the Brazilian fighter at one win apiece. His final career bout came in February 2010 against fellow former UFC champion Randy Couture.