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Early UFC Fighter Paul Varelans Passes Away After Battle With COVID-19

January 19, 2021 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Paul Varelans

Paul Varelans, who competed on some of the earliest UFC cards, has passed away after a battle with COVID-19. ESPN reports that Varelans passed away on Saturday, just over a month after he announced via Twitter that he had contracted the virus on December 12th. UFC co-founder Art Davie noted on December 17th that Varelans had been put in a medically-induced coma and placed on a ventilator in the ICU. It appears he did not recover and his girlfriend Kim Watson has confirmed passed on Saturday. He was 51.

Varelans fought on several early UFC shows, first competing at UFC 6 where he had two fights: a win against Cal Worsham and a loss to Tank Abbott. He made it to the finals of a tournament at UFC 7, where he lost to Marco Ruas after 13 minutes.

Varelans’ final fight for the UFC was at Ultimate Ultimate 1996, where he lost to Kimo Leopoldo. He continued to fight outside of the UFC, with his last bout being a quick knockout win in 1998 at Rings Holland: The King of Rings. Varelans also had a single match in professional wrestling, facing Taz in a “shoot fight” at ECW Hardcore Heaven in 1996 that was billed as legit, though the finish where he lost to Taz was worked.

On behalf of 411, our condolences to the family, fans, and friends of Mr. Varelans.

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Paul Varelans, Jeremy Thomas