I met Paul. Subitai introduced me. He was the first UFC fighter that I met in person (aside from Subitai of course). He was feckin huge.

Paul Varelans, UFC pioneer, dies at 51 after COVID-19 battle
By Dan Martin January 17, 2021 | 12:45pm | Updated

Paul Varelans, an Alaska native nicknamed “The Polar Bear” at 6-foot-8 and 300 pounds, was diagnosed last month. His death was confirmed by MMA Junkie and the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.

The 51-year-old Varelans had been in a medically induced coma.

His UFC career began in 1995 and he reached the final of the UFC 7 tournament in Buffalo. His last fight was in 1998. Varelans also played college football at San Jose State.

Even before his COVID digansosis last month, Varelans chronicled his battle online.

“I have never felt so sick in my life, going to get tested today,” he wrote on Dec. 10.

He later announced his positive diagnosis, saying “[I] feel like hell.”

“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,” Varelans wrote in mid-December. “They never stop coming.”

He was soon placed in a coma.
RIP Paul 'The Polar Bear' Varelans