UFC legend Mark Coleman issues first statement from hospital since house fire: ‘Don’t ever count The Hammer out’

UFC Hall of Famer Mark Coleman’s brush with death has him feeling grateful – for everything.

Coleman issued his first official statement Friday, three days after he rescued his parents from a house fire in Freemont, Ohio, that killed his dog, Hammer. Coleman was airlifted to a local hospital, sedated and intubated for smoke inhalation, with early reports stating he was “battling for his life” as doctors worked to clear his lungs.

Coleman became alert Thursday and on Friday issued his first official statement through his daughter, Kenzie, on Instagram (edited for clarity).

“Mark ‘The Hammer’ Coleman here. I want to first thank my higher power above. Without him, this isn’t possible,” Coleman said. “Next I want to thank each and every one of you for the prayers, support, and generosity. I always knew I had the best fans around. What you have done for me and my family is truly remarkable. I also want to thank the doctors, nurses and hospital staff who saved my life. I can’t wait to take you all along with me during my recovery journey. You are all now (part) of ‘Hammer’ house. I’m blessed and grateful my parents and I are walking out of this alive. I encourage you to do the things you want to do, better yourself, and cherish every moment. Tomorrow is not promised.

“Also, it breaks my heart to say this, but Rest in Peace to my special dog Hammer. If you followed me before all of this, you knew he was my sidekick and bestfriend. We spent every day together, and I will miss him so much. As always … sober is cool, carnivore diet, 9 ancestral tenets. ‘Hammer’ house is 4 life. Are you in now? Don’t ever count ‘The Hammer’ out. I love you all.”

Coleman, 59, was the very first UFC heavyweight champion in 1997 and a former PRIDE grand prix winner. Nicknamed “The Hammer” and affectionately known as “The Godfather of Ground-and-Pound,” Coleman was inducted into both the pioneer and fight wings of the UFC Hall of Fame.

In recent years, Coleman overcome a number of personal adversities. In 2020, he survived a heart attack. And in 2021, Coleman went into rehab for alcoholism, becoming sober and an advocate for healthy living and sobriety.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie