This poignant and award-winning picture, of Mark Coleman and his daughters after his loss to Fedor Emelianenko during PRIDE 32, reminds fight fans that the men and woman we follow in the cage are more than just fighters. After this fight, Coleman immediately change into father mode, comforting his daughters by telling them that daddy's OK.
Coleman has struggled through much of his career with balancing the roles of father and fighter:
“My kids ran parallel to my fighting career,” said Coleman. “They were born while I was fighting, and I just wanted them to know. I always had a tough time leaving my kids to go train. It was very, very hard for me, and I really wanted them to see what I did, and that I wasn’t just leaving them behind for no particular reason. There was a good reason why I wasn’t home all the time, and it was very important for me to show them that.”
It's been two and a half years since Coleman's loss to Fedor, and his daughters have grown to understand more about fighting. When asked about her father's loss to Fedor, one daughter responded that it was a tough time, but her family made it through.
This Saturday, when Coleman returns to the UFC for the first time since 1999, he will again have to balance the competing roles of fighter and father. Like any father with a demanding job, he will be fighting not only for himself, but for his daughters. That should give him plenty of motivation to win over Mauricio "Shogun" Rua.
Photo courtesy the Las Vegas Sun