The Philosophy of Don Shainis

| May 9, 2017 | 0 Comments

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EASTON — Shameless.  The dictionary defines as “insensible to disgrace; immodest, audacious, brash or improper”.   Months away from graduating from Bridgewater State University, Don Shainis had an epiphany mid-way through his senior year that would lead to him to shun the foreboding life of a prototypical graduate that loomed large just months away.

On the precipice of staring down two very different fates, he emptied his efforts into blockading any possible chance of returning to the more clearly visible, predictable path and huddled himself into the art of fighting full time…without any doubt.

“I created myself,” asserts Shainis.  “I want to be myself.  I don’t think about it too much I just go.”

Shainis totally withdrew himself from his previous life to focus solely on training.  He moved back home, quit his job, let go of his prior lifestyle, and left his past behind to pursue a career in mixed martial arts.

“People don’t understand this is a lonely sport,” Shainis lamented.   At 26 years old, “Shameless” fully understands the reality at some point his body will be no longer able to withstand the brutality that comes with being a professional athlete.

“It’s one of those things that you got to invest in yourself, use that time now.  You have to use that time now, that sacrifice now…that extra training session, that extra lap, that extra everything because it adds up in the end.  It might not payout well right now, but you stack that up, it’s going to give you so much in the long run than it does now,” he said.   “I realized I wanted to be a professional athlete, and I said I’m either doing to do it now or never.”

His head-first mentality landed him on Bellator MMA’s most recent promotion, Bellator 178, which garnered 1.3 million viewers during its peak.  Shainis closed the card with a win making it his second professional victory at 145 pounds.

“To me every day is Friday.  Your whole life someone has been telling you what to do, you just got to do what you want to do.  I’m doing what I want now.  When I’m fighting, you get to see me in the moment, I get to share that short moment with everyone there.  I’m so overwhelmed with emotion when I’m done fighting you get me raw and uncut.”

Shainis’ revival came with a new training coach and team based out of Redline Fighting.  Prior to Redline, he vagabonded from camp to camp during his time at school.  Shainis credits his coaches with his improved conditioning which allows him to keep a “full gas tank and a spare”.  His resurgence was predicated on a newly defined lifestyle, which has since allowed Shainis to take advantage of multiple training sessions a day.

“This is it.  If I go back to that old life, I could float by and get old and stay stuck in that trap of society.  People don’t get that you can create what you want to do, just take the opportunities presented to you.  You can say screw, take a left turn, and figure it out on your own,” he lamented.

Shainis calls it “sweat equity”.  The price you pay for success; with cardio as the king of all these factors.  He believes there could be millions of champion caliber fighters, but none will be champions because they don’t go the extra mile.

“Fighters are too concerned with money in the sport. I’m not here for the money.  Money will come if you are working your ass off.  You better work on your craft, because too many people are in the trap of working a job they don’t like to work all week to make someone else rich, to buy things they can’t afford, to live on the weekend,” said Shainis.

What the future holds for Shainis is unknown even after his most recent win in Bellator, but he plans on staking his claim in the world of mixed martial arts faster than ever.  Never satisfied, he has grown into the knack of selling himself in a way that is unique to his style.

“Shameless nation” is a rising brand that seeps into every aspect of Shainis’ life.  Even with the pressure that comes with working up the local scene; facing better opponents, having to constantly sell and promote tickets to events, and dealing with the uncertainty and fluidity of fighting, Shainis embraces the challenges laid before him.

“I’m telling you right now I’m going to be a world champion,” he proclaimed.  “If I say it, I mean.  I don’t care who I fight, when I show up, I’m there to rip someone’s face off.”





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Joe Zarrella is a contributor to MassMMA. Joe can be contacted at or on Twitter @JoezarrellaMA

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