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Former UFC champion Mark Coleman clarifies statement on Rep. Jim Jordan’s alleged knowledge of abuse at Ohio State University

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Representative Jim Jordan, the Republican congressman for Ohio’s 4th district, is currently embroiled in a scandal over whether or not he had knowledge of sexual abuse at Ohio State University while he was an assistant coach on the school’s wrestling team between 1987 and 1995. Jordan has denied having any knowledge of the abuse, despite a number of former OSU wrestlers stating otherwise.

The alleged abuse at OSU is said to have occurred during the tenure of the Dr. Richard Strauss (1978 to 1998). Strauss, who died in 2005, has been accused of sexual abuse by dozens of former student athletes and past patients of the school’s student health services unit.

Among those claiming abuse by Strauss are former OSU wrestlers Mike DiSabato, Dunyasha Yetts, and Shawn Dailey. Those men have publicly alleged that Strauss routinely groped them during medical visits. They also claim that these actions were common knowledge among the OSU wrestling locker room and that then-assistant coach Jordan knew what was going on.

Yetts told NBC News that he informed Jordan of the incidents with Strauss and that Jordan had responded saying he would kill Strauss if the doctor ever tried to do something similar to him.

Mark Coleman, the UFC’s first heavyweight champion, wrestled at OSU during the 1980s. The Fremont, Ohio-born Coleman, who was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame in 2008, has claimed he too was a victim of Strauss (per The Columbus Dispatch).

When news about Strauss’ alleged actions, and Jordan’s alleged knowledge of them, became national news, Coleman discussed the situation with the Wall Street Journal. Regarding Jordan, Coleman was quoted as saying: “There’s no way unless he’s got dementia or something that he’s got no recollection of what was going on at Ohio State. I have nothing but respect for this man, I love this man, but he knew as far as I’m concerned.”

Yesterday Coleman contacted CNN to discuss his statements to the WSJ. Coleman told CNN that he has no direct knowledge of Jordan knowing about accusations regarding Strauss during his time coaching at OSU.

“Maybe I spoke without thinking,” said Coleman. “This absorbed my life. Since I’ve said that, it’s consumed me 24 hours a day. And I didn’t like the way it was heading, the direction it was heading.”

“I was angry and said words that I shouldn’t have said,” continued Coleman, who added that he no longer stands by his quotes in the WSJ. “He may have known about some locker room banter, because we did joke about it in the locker room, but I don’t know of anyone ever reporting it to Jim Jordan directly.”

Jordan is one of the most influential Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives. A staunch ally of U.S. President Donald Trump, Jordan is thought to be a leading candidate to replace Rep. Paul Ryan as House speaker when Ryan resigns later this year.

The investigation into accusations of sexual abuse by Strauss is ongoing. OSU stated that they have hired a law firm to investigate the over 100 claims of abuse and that over 150 witnesses have already been interviewed.

Survivors of sexual assault can find support via the following organizations:

US – Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN)’s National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline 1-800-656-HOPE (4673). RAINN also has an online chat service.

Love is Respect, 1-866-331-9474. They can also be reached via online chat or by texting LOVEIS to 22522.

End Rape on Campus (EROC), 1-424-777-EROC (3762).

Canada – Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime, 1-877-232-2610.

UK and Ireland – UK Says No More.

Rest of the World – International Rape Crisis Hotlines.

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