In a statement released on Thursday via the Associated Press, former UFC heavyweight champion and 2000 Pride Grand Prix winner Mark “The Hammer” Coleman claimed he was victim of sexual abuse by an Ohio State team doctor. Dr Richard Strauss, who is deceased, is accused of sexually assaulting over 100 students.
Coleman has agreed to cooperate with investigators and has taken back previous statements claiming former assistant coach Jim Jordan knew about the alleged abuse. Jordan is currently a Republican congressman from Ohio and is the front-runner to become the next Speaker of the House. Jordan has denied knowing anything about the abuse while an assistant at Ohio State from 1987-1995. Last month, Coleman said of Jordan:
“There’s no way unless he’s got dementia or something that he’s got no recollection of what was going on at Ohio State. I have nothing but respect for this man. I love this man. But he knew as far as I’m concerned.”
In his latest statement, Coleman attempts to clarify:
“Maybe I spoke without thinking,” he says. “This has absorbed my life. Since I’ve said that, it’s consumed me 24 hours a day, and I didn’t like the way it was heading, the direction it was heading. … I was angry and said words that I shouldn’t have said. He may have known about some locker room banter because we did joke about it in the locker room, but I don’t know of anyone ever reporting it to Jim Jordan directly. “
If nothing else, it seems like guilt was weighing on him. Ultimately, he just wants to be clear. That’s the biggest thing to him right now.
“I’m clarifying (the earlier statement) because it’s been on my mind for a long time. … I feel guilty that this happened, and I wanted to clarify it. Not change it. I said what I said.”
Coleman is famous for inventing the MMA technique of “ground and pound.” He became the UFC’s inaugural heavyweight champion, a crown he earned in 1997 at UFC 12. He finished with a 16-10 record in MMA before his induction into the UFC Hall of Fame in 2016.