JOHNSTON, Iowa — A little over a year ago, Mason Mitchell came to Absolute Martial Arts and Fitness to take a class. But it ended up igniting a passion that had been brewing inside him for a while.
"I've always wanted to get into combat sports," Mitchell said. "The last few years I've been watching a ton of it. Then after going to an MMA fight and watching it. About a month into it, I told myself I want to do it."
One thing about Mitchell, he's a risk-taker who loves taking on new challenges, and he doesn't shy away from the hard work it takes to win.
"He's so driven not to fail and he's willing to go through all this fire," said Mitchell's trainer Victor Moreno. "That's a diamond in the rough right there. That mindset, that's what we're looking for."
That mindset has served Mitchell well before. Prior to training to become an MMA fighter, he was a successful stock car driver.
"I started racing dirt bikes when I was six years old," Mitchell said. "Went into car racing and was pretty successful at the national level. I won the ARCA series championship and many races and had our own team."
Mitchell won that championship within the first year that he formed his own team, which was totally unheard of up until that point. It was a risky move that paid off big time.
In the months of training leading up to his MMA debut, he's taken the lessons that he learned on the track and applies them in the octagon.
"The mental fitness, going out there and racing in front of thousands of people and doing media stuff, all that stuff and that pressure I was so used to, and I love it," Mitchell said. "I feel like I thrive in that atmosphere. So, getting into that octagon and seeing a thousand people out there and packing the place full next Wednesday night. I cannot wait for that."
If one thing's for sure, Mitchell is going to give it his best shot, and like before, he's hoping that this risk will pay off.
"I just want to make people proud and enjoy the moment and that's all I can ask myself to do," Mitchell said.
Mitchell will make his debut on Wednesday, Nov. 23 in his hometown of West Des Moines.