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Athletes

Paul Varelans: 1969-2021

One of the most popular figures from the early days of the UFC, Paul Varelans, has passed away at the age of 51.

Sad news in the world of mixed martial arts, as one of the most popular figures from the early days of the UFC, Paul Varelans, passed away Saturday at the age of 51.

Known as "The Polar Bear," Varelans made an immediate impression in his Octagon debut thanks to his imposing frame and a 62-second knockout of Cal Worsham at UFC 6 in 1995. And though there wouldn't be any tournament titles or world championships in his brief three-year MMA career (which included eight UFC bouts), he left a mark with all fans of the early UFC.

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FROM THE UFC ENCYCLOPEDIA (2011)

 

Paul Varelans

Nickname – The Polar Bear

Height – 6-8

Weight – 300

Date of Birth – September 17, 1969

Hometown – Sunnyvale, CA

Professional Record – 9-9

UFC Record – 4-4

 

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. Yet when he stepped up against the next level of competition, UFC standouts like Tank Abbott, Marco Ruas, Dan Severn, and Kimo Leopoldo always prevailed. This pattern continued in his post-UFC career (which lasted until 1998), with losses against Igor Vovchanchyn and Mark Kerr.