UFC pioneer, early fan favorite Paul Varelans dies after battle with COVID-19
A fan favorite from the UFC’s tournament days died Saturday.
Paul Varelans, a popular 6-foot-8 fighter nicknamed “The Polar Bear,” died after a month-long battle with COVID-19, according to multiple posts on his Facebook page. A person close to Varelans’ family confirmed his death to MMA Junkie. Varelans was 51.
Varelans was infected with COVID-19 in early-to-mid December. Varelans, who posted on Facebook as his condition worsened, had been in a medically induced coma at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.
A few days after Varelans’ final update, UFC co-founder and Hall of Famer Art Davie announced he was on a respirator and in a coma.
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