Paul Varelans, UFC pioneer and No Holds Barred veteran, has passed away after health complications from COVID-19. He was infected with the novel coronavirus in early to mid-December and was placed in a medically induced coma not long thereafter.
Varelans was updating fans and loved ones alike on his fluctuating health status via his personal Facebook page. This was until recently when someone close to Varelans’ family confirmed the news of his death to MMA Junkie. Paul Varelans was 51 years old.
The Polar Bear debuted at UFC 6 in a sixty-two-second barnburner against Cal Worsham before tasting defeat to Tank Abbott in the tournament semi-finals later on that same night.
Varelans was also a UFC 7 tournament finalist. He earned two first round stoppages on that September 1995 night in Buffalo. Varelans defeated Gerry Harris and Mark Hall in a combined 2:11 before being halted by UFC 7 champion Marco Ruas.
Paul Varelans also competed under some classic banners in the nascent days of MMA. The Polar Bear fought for Pancrase, IFC, U-Japan, World Vale Tudo Championship, and RINGS.
Varelans also had some involvement in the pro wrestling world and took on Taz in a worked shoot style contest at ECW Hardcore Heaven 1996.
:Taz vs Paul “The Polar Bear” Varelans in a “Shoot Fight” rules match at Hardcore Heaven ’96.Varelans was a legit UFC fighter and was huge:6’8″,340,but this match vs Taz was a blend of both work and shoot. pic.twitter.com/UqlU4RD6tw
— Rasslin’ History 101 (@WrestlingIsKing) September 16, 2018
Paul Varelans put together an overall MMA record of 9-9. Some additional notable names Varelans fought against include Dan Severn, Mark Kerr, Kimo Leopoldo, and Igor Vovchanchyn.
The Alaskan combatant was an imposing 6’8, 300 lbs. The hulking pugilist always showcased a hard-hitting, go out on your shield style of fighting through his combat endeavors.
Many in the MMA community have been coming out to offer condolences on social media. As well as memories regarding someone who had a pleasant presence that belied his ferocious demeanor in the cage.
The final bout in the MMA career of Paul Varelans is below for your viewing