UFC Hall of Famer Mark Coleman recently opened up about his time at Ohio State, where he claimed he was sexually assaulted. In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Coleman talked about transferring from Miami of Ohio to Ohio State to wrestle in 1986 for his senior season. The former UFC Heavyweight Champion revealed that he was touched inappropriately by Dr. Richard Strauss, who has been accused of assaulting over 350 student-athletes at the school.
"He examined me pretty good. It was an eye-opener," Coleman said when talking about Strauss touching Coleman during a medical examination... "I don't want to go further than that." From there, Coleman asked other students about their experiences with Strauss, who was known to sit naked on the locker room benches and then shower with the athletes. Because of this, athletes from different sports had different nicknames for him. Some OSU coaches even mocked the threat of "having to see Dr. Strauss" as motivation to work harder.
At the time, Coleman didn't realize he was sexually assaulted because it was the late 80s, and it wasn't talked about. "We never thought a man could sexually abuse a man," Coleman stated. "We just played it off. We joked about it. But I don't think we were really joking." Coleman was not happy with the situation but he and the rest of the athletes put up with it because "This guy controlled my future," he said. "We all put up with it. For me, it was like, just clear me so I can go win an NCAA title and make the Olympic team, you know?"
Coleman went on to have success as won the NCAA wrestling title in 1988 and would compete in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. He then would enter the MMA world and become UFC's first heavyweight champion. Strauss died by suicide in 2005, and in 2020, Ohio State agreed to pay $40.9 million to the sexual abuse survivors.
Looking back, Coleman said that Strauss was the reason he was dealing with a lot of pain during that time. "I didn't know how bad it was affecting me, but now I look back and I was very angry," he said. "I went into practice very angry a lot of times, storming into the wrestling room and screaming. I was confused. I spun it as, well, it's good to be angry, I'm gonna have a hell of practice and kick someone's a—. But now I realize it wasn't good, and I realize why."