Dan “The King” Kiser: A Fighter’s Journey and Near-Death Experience in the Cage


Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is a sport that demands dedication, skill, and an indomitable spirit. For Dan “The King” Kiser, the journey from an abandoned barn to the spotlight of the cage was filled with ups and downs. Known for his unwavering determination and relentless fighting style, Kiser’s career took a dramatic turn when he faced a life-threatening incident in the cage. In this article, we delve into the career of Dan Kiser, his passion for MMA, his growth as a fighter, and the near-death experience that changed his life forever.

Early Beginnings and Training:

Dan Kiser’s journey in MMA began with a sense of adventure and the belief that he could conquer anything. Inspired by his father’s love for the sport, he entered the realm of MMA with an amateur record of 8-0. Training initially at an abandoned barn in Almelund, Minnesota, Kiser’s early experiences were marked by unconventional training methods, including watching moves on YouTube. However, he soon realized the limitations of his training environment and sought out better opportunities.

Transitioning to Devils Den and Spartan Martial Arts:

Recognizing the need for professional guidance, Kiser made the decision to join Devils Den, where he found an exceptional coach and friend in Chris Barrera. The time spent at Devils Den proved to be a period of growth and learning for Kiser. He was able to develop his skills, refine his technique, and gain valuable experience. However, he knew that in order to reach greater heights, he needed to surround himself with experienced fighters and coaches.

This realization led him to Spartan Martial Arts, under the tutelage of Tom Schmitz, in Oakdale, Minnesota. Kiser speaks fondly of this gym, considering the people he met there as family. The supportive environment and the expertise of his coach allowed him to further elevate his fighting abilities. Under Schmitz’s guidance, Kiser honed his skills in various disciplines, including striking, grappling, and submission techniques.

Unyielding Determination and Fighting Style:

Known for his unrelenting spirit, Kiser embodied the essence of a true fighter. His willingness to take damage, combined with a formidable ground game, made him a challenging opponent for anyone who stepped into the cage with him. Kiser often emphasized his refusal to quit, no matter how much he was beaten on. This tenacity, coupled with his belief in his own abilities, earned him a reputation as a tough and resilient fighter.

Influences and Favorite Fighters:

When asked about his favorite fighters, Kiser drew inspiration from the Diaz brothers. He admired their ability to engage in stand-up battles or dominate on the ground. Kiser’s preference for striking showcased his appreciation for the technical aspects of the sport, highlighting the skill required to land shots while minimizing damage. He often studied their fights, learning from their techniques and incorporating them into his own style.

The Near-Death Experience:

While MMA is undoubtedly a high-risk sport, Kiser’s career took a devastating turn when he faced a near-death experience in the cage. It was a moment that tested his resilience and changed the course of his life forever. The details of the incident are harrowing, as Kiser found himself in a precarious situation that pushed his physical limits to the extreme. Despite the risks involved, he always understood the potential dangers of the sport. However, nothing could have prepared him for the severity of the injury he sustained during that fateful fight.

In the aftermath of his near-death experience, Kiser experienced a profound shift in perspective. He recognized the importance of gratitude and expressed heartfelt appreciation to all those who supported him throughout his journey. From the people he trained with in the barn to the medical professionals who saved his life, Kiser acknowledged their contributions and emphasized the value of making the most out of life’s opportunities.

Following the near-death experience, Kiser embarked on a long and arduous road to recovery. Physical rehabilitation was just one aspect of his healing journey, as he also faced the emotional and psychological aftermath of the incident. The support of his friends, family, and the MMA community played a crucial role in helping him navigate this challenging period. Kiser demonstrated immense resilience as he worked towards regaining his health and rebuilding his life.

Moving Forward:

Although his fighting career was cut short due to the severity of his injuries, Kiser remained passionate about the sport and its community. He became an advocate for fighter safety, working towards raising awareness about the risks involved in MMA and promoting measures to enhance the well-being of athletes. Kiser’s near-death experience served as a turning point not only in his own life but also in his dedication to making a positive impact in the MMA world.

Dan “The King” Kiser’s MMA journey was one filled with passion, determination, and resilience. From humble beginnings in an abandoned barn to the heights of the cage, Kiser showcased an unwavering commitment to his craft. While his career ended abruptly due to a near-death experience, he emerged from the ordeal with a newfound appreciation for life and a desire to contribute to the sport in a different capacity. Dan Kiser’s story serves as a powerful reminder of the physical and mental challenges that fighters face, and the importance of cherishing every opportunity in life.