UFC veteran heavyweight Paul Vareleans was one of the notable figures in the promotion’s early days. In 2020, he’s fighting a tough battle with COVID-19.
The 51-year old took to Facebook recently to share the news before UFC founder Art Davie gave a status update a matter of days later.
“Paul Varelans… (The Polar Bear)… has been diagnosed with COVID-19,” Davie shared on Facebook. “He’s on a ventilator and struggling. I urge everyone in the MMA world, to say a quick prayer for Paul. God speed…!!!”
The Sunnyvale, California native’s 18-fight career spanned from 1995 to 1998. Vareleans made his UFC debut at UFC 6 when he scored a 62-second knockout via an elbow to Cal Worsham. Thus advancing him onward through the tournament to take on David “Tank” Abbott.
Following UFC 6’s conclusion, “The Polar Bear” would compete at four more UFC events. Throughout his 18 fights, Vareleans only fought to a decision on two occasions. Among his most notable opponents were the likes of Dan Severn, Kimo Leopoldo, Mark Kerr, Igor Vovchanchyn, and the aforementioned Abbott.
The 6-foot-8 Vareleans ended his career on a high note with a second-round knockout of Dick Vrij 22 years ago. His record stands at 9-9.
In addition to his MMA career, Vareleans also dabbled in the professional wrestling industry by appearing at an Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) pay-per-view. In 1996 at ECW’s Hardcore Heaven, Vareleans had a match with the wrestler Taz that was meant to look like a real fight. Otherwise known as a “shoot” in the pro wrestling world.
As a result, Taz would end up “going over” against Vareleans as Vareleans agreed to lose the match via a choke submission. This would end up being the only appearance in pro wrestling for the former UFC star. Ultimately, we wish the veteran a speedy recovery during his troubled time.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 12/18/2020.This article appeared first on BJPENN.COM