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It takes a lot more than a house fire to keep The Hammer down.

UFC Hall of Famer Mark Coleman gave the global MMA community a scare last week when he was airlifted to hospital in his native Ohio after successfully saving the lives of both of his parents from a late night fire which had engulfed their property. Coleman, the first-ever UFC heavyweight champion, was initially intubated and sedated following the event but despite a brief return to hospital amid a pneumonia diagnosis — but now released, the 59-year-old is focusing on his full recovery.

“I am healing up very well,” Coleman said in a video posted to social media on Monday. “My lungs are sore. My eyes are burnt but I’m very much alive and well. I feel so blessed it’s in my higher powers hands. He wants me to move forward today and I am. I’m overwhelmed by the love and support that I have received, if I had a wish it would be that I could meet each and every one of you to give you a big hug and thank you in person.”

He added: “Everybody check in on your loved ones life is good life is what you make it. Everything starts with a thought keep the negative thoughts out of your head, love you all so much.”


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Separately, UFC veteran Matt Brown — with whom Coleman trains and coaches alongside at his Immortal Martial Arts Center in Columbus, Ohio, published a clip to Instagram showing ‘The Hammer’ fighting fit. “I never left,” Coleman says in the video. “Well for a second.”

As noted, Coleman was the first heavyweight champion in UFC history, as well as the winner of the UFC 10 and UFC 11 tournaments. He would later compete in Japan for PRIDE where he won the promotion’s openweight Grand Prix in 2000.

He retired from mixed martial arts competition at the age of 48 in November 2013, three years after his last bout — a submission loss to Randy Couture at UFC 190 in Las Vegas.