A UFC pioneer has lost his battle with COVID-19.
Paul Varelans, who first competed in the UFC back in July 1995, died on January 16 at the age of 51. Back in December, Varelans made a Facebook post revealing he felt ill and hoped all he had was the regular flu.
“I have never felt so sick in my life. Going to get tested today. Actually, this is how I felt before UFC 7 when I had the flu. I hope it’s a flu. Either way, it’s time for some raw garlic and sh*tloads of grapefruit.”
Just two days later, Varelans confirmed he tested positive.
“So it’s official, I am COVID-19 positive and I feel like hell.”
Varelans went on to describe how he was feeling as a result of the disease.
“Best way I can compare the feel of COVID-19 in my experience is it’s like fighting a guy who specializes in kidney punches. They never stop coming.”
The last social media post from Varelans was on December 14. Soon after, he was in ICU where he was in a medically induced coma and never recovered.
The UFC posted the following obituary.
“Few nicknames are as apt as the one given to Mr. Paul Varelans. One look at the 6-8, 300 pounder, and you would instantly agree that “Polar Bear” fits the bill. But beyond his moniker, Varelans was a staple of the early UFC broadcasts, a powerful and effective fighter who was resilient in the face of danger, and who was able to beat fighters like Cal Worsham, Mark Hall, and Joe Moreira consistently.”