New England native Don Shainis (8-2) has long been on the radar of big promotions, but the COVID-19 pandemic and related restrictions have slowed his career trajectory somewhat, seeing Shainis fight just once since 2019.
A victim of COVID-inspired restrictions and consequential difficulties, Shainis decided to “leave it all behind him” and travel to Glory MMA, the MMA gym headed by UFC athlete James Krause. Now, he returns home hopeful for a win and to get back on track in the midst of a four-fight winning streak.
“I literally left everything back here,” Shainis told MMA-Prospects. “To see the support is amazing; nice to see familiar faces. I’ve got an overload of people asking me for tickets. It is just awesome to see the support I’m getting from home, even with moving over to Glory MMA.”
A well-regarded UFC contender in his own right, James Krause is one of the smartest minds in MMA, both as a competitor himself and now as a coach to an array of top athletes. Shainis has raved about his time under the Glory banner.
“It’s been unbelievable,” Shainis said of Glory MMA. “I am reinventing my game, I am learning so much from these athletes on a daily basis. James is a mastermind, I can’t wait to showcase the skills I’ve picked up over there. That atmosphere is something special.”
Shainis made it well known that this fight is to get back on track and to recapture the attention of the UFC, not to line his pockets.
“I’m making zero money in this fight,” Shainis admitted. “The profit I am making from fighting is being used to fly my corner down here. This fight isn’t for money, isn’t for a paycheck; this is to move me in the right direction. This is me investing in myself, believing in myself. So many people have supported me. This is for them.”
When asked what is next for Shainis, the answer was what many regional fighters on the cusp of that next big signing will say: an opportunity.
“I just need an opportunity,” Shainis said. “I don’t care what it is. I just need the one shot. I look at it like this: people in the UFC take risks; that is how they got there. I’ve lost too much time to hand-pick my fights, to not take risks myself. I want to be busy, be active, and show the UFC [they’re] losing money not having me on their roster.”
Shainis is taking on “Nasty” Nate Williams (12-7) in his Cage Titans return at Cage Titans 49 on July 10.
Williams holds a 12-7 record and quite the height advantage over Shainis, standing at a towering 5’11” for the featherweight division.
“He’s tall and long, but I’m short, so everyone is tall and long,” Shainis laughed. “My training has prepared me for the next level, I really believe that. It’ll be a reinvented me. I’ve tweaked some things, learned some things.”
That is a scary proposition for New England featherweights, as Shainis is currently riding a four-fight winning — and stoppage — streak. “Shameless” has won six of his seven victories by finish, adding two submissions to his record along with four knockouts.
As for Shainis’ prediction for the Williams fight’s outcome, he was both honest and succinct: “No idea, a fight is a fight.”