Get To Know Shane Kruchten: Fighter, Marine, PTSD Sufferer

You probably don't know Kruchten. Despite his impressive MMA record of 11-3, he's not what you'd consider a 'big name.' In the grand scope of society, Kruchten is a hero.

You probably should know him.

Life hasn't been easy for Shane Kruchten. You'd probably expect nothing less from a guy nicknamed "The War Rhino.”

“It was by pure accident I even ended up in a cage to fight,” Kruchten told me.

Kruchten first fought nearly a decade ago, and lost a couple of his first pro fights. In a bit over his head, he started his career against eventual UFC fighters Luke Zachrich and Gerald Meerschaert. He later excelled in Xplode Fight Series -- a company known for it's one-sided matchmaking. That really wasn't any different for Shane. He was out of their league. It's been the case of many of his fights. Now in World Series of Fighting, the competition has increased, as has the pressure. Kruchten lost his last fight and spent over 30 months out of the cage.

Those losses were nothing to Kruchten, he'd fought and lost more important battles before and after. The cage, addiction, weight, and the battlefield.

“In 2009 I almost succumbed to the dark side of PTSD attempting to kill myself in June of ’09. It’s something that rides on my heart every day. You know, survivor’s guilt is no joke but at the same time since that day, switching teams and having a solid core individual group of individuals that support me 110% with my coaches and my training partners has allowed me to propel my career and myself in a positive direction in life,” said Kruchten.

PTSD because Kruchten spent years in the military. Now, Kruchten is battling to erase the stigma associated with it.

“Right out of the gate somebody hears 'Oh man that guy has PTSD' the biggest misconception that is heard 24/7 is always that people are crazy, that they can’t function in daily life, that you shouldn’t get in relationships with them, you shouldn’t even—almost treat them like lepers, literally,” Kruchten said. “I’ve heard this and the Marine Corps ostracized me when I got diagnosed with PTSD in the beginning, it’s gotten much better over the years thank goodness but unfortunately Marines like myself—and there were about 35,000 others that were just thrown to the wayside. At the same time people like us being thrown under the bus, it allowed other Marines that now suffer from it to get the proper care. It also allowed civilians to really learn what PTSD is. It is debilitating at times. To this day I suffer from it and my daily life is a roller coaster. Some days are so horrible but I’m always on like a upslide of life if you would, like on that climb of a roller coaster going doing loops but sometimes I hit deep pits that just shut down everything. The biggest misconception that people really see when they see me hit a pit is, 'Oh man we’re gonna lose him. Oh man he’s gonna go crazy' I’m not I just need space or I just need a positive shoulder to lean on at that time.”

Kruchten hasn't fought in two and a half years. He hasn't won in three and a half. Who knows how he'll look? A soldier, a fighter, a warrior, from San Diego landing all the way in the mecca of Madison Square Garden in New York City on New Year's Eve. However, Kruchten was originally supposed to compete in Denver earlier this year.

“Ray Sefo has always been a very stand up man I respect that man I’ve never had a boss in a fighting organization treat me with so much respect. I mean most bosses in a fighting organization would just shove it off to low man on the totem pole 'call this guy and tell him he’s not fighting.' Ray called me directly. I was at the gym, I had just finished a very hard training session, I was already starting to peak in my training and basically I was ready to go. He called me and he goes 'Hey I’m sorry we’re going to have to cancel your card in Denver' and literally my heart sunk so hard. My teammates said I looked like I was about to start crying in the gym and all of a sudden he goes but…we’re going to move you to Madison Square Garden on New Year’s Eve is that ok? Instantly I got so happy and I thanked him for not only the opportunity not only to represent World Series and the decagon but I said thank you very much for allowing me to put my brothers on the big platform. I have two dreams left in MMA and one was to fight in Japan and one’s always been to fight in New York and I’m chopping that off the bucket list. I’m an avid boxing fan so you know…Muhammed Ali, Jack Dempsey--the greatest of the greatest—Mike Tyson, Joe Frazier have fought at Madison Square Garden and now I get to share and walk through the hallowed gates. I think when I hit the tunnel it’s going to become real.”

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