Mark "The Hammer" Coleman was born on December 20, 1964. He is an American mixed martial artist, professional wrestler, former NCAA collegiate wrestler and former Olympic amateur wrestler. In MMA, he was the UFC 10 and UFC 11 tournament champion, the first Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight champion, and the PRIDE Fighting Championships 2000 Open Weight Grand Prix champion. On 1 March 2008, Coleman was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame.
Coleman is credited with proving the ability of wrestlers to dominate in the developing sport of mixed martial arts, and with being the inventor of the strategy that came to be known as ground-and-pound.
Mark Coleman was born in Fremont, Ohio, U.S. in 1964. He began freestyle wrestling as a teenager, and wrestled for Miami University, in Ohio, where he was a two time Mid-American Conference wrestling champion. In his senior year, he transferred to The Ohio State University and won an NCAA championship. Out of college, Coleman was awarded a spot on the US Wrestling team, placing seventh overall in the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain.
Following his amateur career, Coleman made the transition to the then-new sport of mixed martial arts, winning his first two tournaments, UFC 10 where he beat defending champion Don Frye and UFC 11 in 1996, and becoming the UFC's first heavyweight champion when he submitted Dan Severn via neck crank at UFC 12.
Coleman made his first title defense at UFC 14, facing the kickboxer Maurice Smith. In what turned out to be a long battle, Coleman lost a decision after 21:00 (regulation plus two overtimes) to Smith. Realizing his stamina was not able to sustain fighting for so long, Coleman took nearly a year off and returned at UFC 17, facing up and coming Lion's Den fighter Pete Williams. In what turned out to be another long and strenuous battle, Coleman appeared to be completely exhausted after 10 minutes, even resting his hands on his knees during the fight. Taking advantage of Coleman's fatigue, Williams landed a heavy kick to the face, knocking Mark Coleman out for the first time in his career.
After nearly eight months of recuperation and training, Coleman returned at UFC 18 to face feared Brazilian striker Pedro Rizzo. After 15:00 the fight went to the judges, who called the fight for Rizzo.
From 2000 through 2006, Coleman continued his career with Japanese promotion, PRIDE Fighting Championships while also making appearances with the professional wrestling promotion HUSTLE. He won the PRIDE 2000 Open Weight Grand Prix tournament defeating Masaaki Satake, Akira Shoji, Kazuyuki Fujita, and Igor Vovchanchyn.
After a quick TKO victory over Allan Goes at PRIDE 13, Coleman faced possibly his toughest challenge ever in Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at PRIDE 16. "Minotauro" was able to catch Coleman in a triangle/armbar at 6:10 of the first round, breaking Coleman's six fight winning streak.
Coleman would take nearly two years off following the fight with Nogueira, Spending time with his wife and children, and focusing on developing his martial arts training facility and stable of fighters at Team Hammer House. Training such fighters as Kevin Randleman, Wes Sims, and Phil Baroni, Team Hammer House quickly gained a reputation of turning out world class fighters.
Coleman returned to MMA competition at PRIDE 26 to face Don Frye in a rematch of their meeting at UFC 10, this proved to be a much tougher battle. Coming back from a career threatening neck injury, Coleman ultimately won a unanimous decision victory after 20 minutes. Following the fight, Coleman apologised to the fans for the lack of action during the fight which he had spent the majority of taking down and maintaining positional dominace of Frye with his superior wrestling ability.
Between training fighters and spending time with his family, Coleman was now fighting roughly once a year. He returned to competition to take place in the PRIDE 2004 Heavyweight Grand Prix, as the returning Grand Prix champion in the Open Weight Division. His first round match at PRIDE Total Elimination 2004 was against PRIDE heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko. In what turned out to be a short bout, Coleman was submitted by armbar at 2:11 of the first round, eliminating him from the tournament.
Coleman returned to the Pride ring in February 2005, this time facing Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipović at PRIDE 29: Fists of Fire. Suffering the second knockout of his career, Coleman fell to strikes by "Cro Cop" in the first round. In November of 2005, Coleman appeared in Bushido Europe-Rotterdam Rumble, Europe's first Bushido event, and choked out Milco Voorn at 0:56 of the first round.
Coleman returned to action at PRIDE 31 with a victory over Chute Boxe team member Mauricio "Shogun" Rua. With Team Hammer House member Phil Baroni in his corner, Coleman began the match by taking Shogun to the ground. At 0:49 of the first round, Rua got up and as he took the first step Coleman grabbed his feet. Rua fell awkwardly and broke his arm. Coleman continued to fight, peppering Rua with strikes before the referee stopped the fight but not before Coleman threw the referee aside and began to shout at Murilo Rua, Mauricio's brother, who entered the ring following the injury. Chute Boxe team members outside the ring, including then PRIDE middleweight champion Wanderlei Silva, jumped into the ring and began struggling with cornerman Phil Baroni. In the ensuing melee, Baroni landed several shots on Silva before taking Silva to the ground, where Coleman then stomped on Silva's throat. After the ring was cleared and order was restored, both camps vowed to settle the score at a future event.  Coleman later apologised to Chute Boxe backstage, but an outraged Chute Boxe refused to accept. The Chute Boxe team was assigned a yellow card for instigating this infraction.
On October 21 2006, Coleman again faced PRIDE heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko at PRIDE's first American show, PRIDE 32: The Real Deal, and lost via submission (armbar) at 1:17 of round two.
Coleman appeared with teammate, Kevin Randleman, on the US pay-per-view broadcast of the final PRIDE event, PRIDE 34: Kamikaze, stating that he intended to keep fighting.
At UFC 82, Coleman was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame, making him the 5th inductee. Coleman announced that he was not retiring and would return to the octagon to fight Brock Lesnar on August 9th in Minneapolis at UFC 87. However, Coleman injured his knee while training, and was forced to pull out of the event. Heath Herring replaced Coleman for the fight.The main event of that card became a welterweight title fight between Georges St. Pierre and the contender Jon Fitch.
On October 1, 2008, UFC announced a rematch against Mauricio "Shogun" Rua at 205 lbs at UFC 93 in Dublin, Ireland.
Coleman has two daughters.
He appeared in the documentary The Smashing Machine: The Life and Times of Mark Kerr alongside fellow fighter Mark Kerr.
In June 2006, it was announced that Coleman was one of the new coaches in the International Fight League, but unable to assemble a team, he was replaced by Frank Shamrock.