Shane Kruchten Says He Plans To Grow From Adversity Of Loss

His debut at Bellator 192 didn't go as planned, but that's not gonna stop "The War Rhino"

Eric Dehm
January 24, 2018 - 12:14 pm

Photo courtesy Shane Kruchten

It was a liver shot heard 'round the world, and seen on national television.

Let's set the scene.

Bellator 192, January 20th, Los Angeles.

Vaunted MMA prospect Aaron Pico's left fist hit Marine Corps veteran and Purple Heart recipient Shane Kruchten's body with a vicious thud. The commentary team of Mike Goldberg and Big John McCarthy gasped as Kruchten went down. A clean shot to the liver by someone as powerful as Pico means game over.

Funny thing though, Kruchten got back up.

"Everybody can see me on the ground and I call him to come down and play some jiu-jitsu," Kruchten said during an appearance on The Morning Briefing. "He wanted nothing to do with it... unfortunately I tried to stand up and the only thing that was moving was my head. Then he hit me with the second one and the second one literally just shut me off like a lightswitch."

That second one? That was the one heard 'round the world. 

You might think your nationally televised debut with one of the biggest MMA promotions on the planet ending in that fashion might be devastating, but while Kruchten says it "sucks" he also says that the mental recovery process began immediately because of the support from his fellow fighters.

"Tito Ortiz grabbed me and hugged me when I walked out of the cage," Kruchten recalls. "And he looks at me and he goes 'listen, that body shot was killer and you didn't take one you took two, you still got on your feet. You'll be back'"... Tito, of all people, a former world champion grabs me and hugs me."

Not everyone has been so positive as Ortiz, Joe Warren, King Mo and other fighters who consoled Kruchten after the loss. Social media is particularly unforgiving to fighters, with the relative anonymity allowing users to insult men and women who could, quite literally, kill them with their bare hands. Kruchten says he's been dealing with the "haters" the best way he knows how, by responding to their taunts positively. 

"People are really amazed that I'm actually writing and commenting on their negative posts about me," Kruchten says. "It's kinda funny... I've been around long enough to where I can take negative comments, and make light of them."

One that he's taken the lightest of all was a video retweeted by former MMA fighter Yves Edwards that is edited to show Pico celebrating his win in a... unique way.

"Even I had to admit that one was funny," Kruchten says of the tweet, which he was happy to retweet himself.

Some things are very serious to him though, particularly honoring the memory of the 19 members of his unit who made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq. Kruchten says he was ecstatic with how Bellator handled his story, including putting a photo of his back tattoo bearing the names of those 19 on screen prior to his fight. He was also impressed with how prepared commnentators McCarthy and Goldberg were to talk about his story.

"They knew about me, I've been around and I'm a seasoned vet," Kruchten says. "Definitely Goldie knew a lot about me and when I walked into the room you could see him light up, almost like he was honored to meet me. It was awesome."

Overall, Kruchten says he wouldn't change anything about the experience of fighting for Bellator, save the outcome of his fight, and looks forward to starting a new win streak with his next fight which he says will likely see him move up a weight class to Lightweight. 

The full conversation with Kruchten is available for streaming or download below.