Early UFC and ECW star Paul Varelans has passed away at age of 51 from his battle with Covid-19.
"The Polar Bear" Varelans had been diagnosed with the virus in early to mid-December, and his condition had worsened rapidly to the point where he was placed in a medically induced coma shortly thereafter. Despite brief flickers of hope, Varelans lost his battle overnight on Saturday.
I was Facebook friendly with Paul Varelans. Following his COVID journey was tough. He got hit hard and five days later was being put in a medically induced coma.— The OFFICIAL MMA Encyclopedia (@JESnowden) January 17, 2021
There was some hope a couple of weeks ago. He was breathing 70% on his own. But eventually it overwhelmed him. -- pic.twitter.com/f0BXVxZm3S
Veralans was a star for early UFC broadcasts where his 6'7" frame made him stand out in a sport that was dominated by larger than life characters in the early days. Veralans' greatest MMA moment was probably at UFC 7 which saw him reach the finals of the tournament by defeating Gerry Harris, and Mark Hall, before falling to "The King of the Streets" Marco Ruas in the finals.
Varelans also dabbled in professional wrestling when he appeared for a worked-shoot angle with Taz in ECW in 1996, which was integral in getting the Taz character over, and fit the raw nature the company was attempting to portray at that time.
UFC original Paul Varelans passed away last night at the age of 51. RIP Polar Bear. You were one of the first wild men of NHB. --pic.twitter.com/WkGkkN7822— Cerebral Vigilante (@Delisketo) January 17, 2021