The Lions Den

Training Facility & Mix Martial Arts Team

The Lions Den and the team was founded in the early 1990s by UFC Hall of Famer Ken Shamrock, and featured such fighters as Mikey Burnett, Vernon White, Jerry Bohlander, Tra Telligman, Pete Williams and Guy Mezger.

The Lion’s Den is a mixed martial arts team and training facility that was based out of Susanville, California but has since moved its headquarters to Reno, Nevada and as of 2020 is now based out of Dallas, Texas.

The team was founded out of necessity, as the then-new sport of mixed martial arts began to take off in the early 1990s. Shamrock, who had fought at UFC 1, had trouble finding adequate sparring partners to prepare for fights. Shamrock attracted the attention of American Pancrase fighters Vernon White and Guy Mezger early on, and formed the first ever MMA team.

Fighters will apply to try out and The Lion’s Den only allows serious competitors with considerable skill to try out.

 

Historically, The Lion’s Den is known for its brutal try-outs…

Once accepted into the Den, the members would live in Ken’s home having their dinner provided by Shamrock. Ken needed to make sure only the best got through. The try out consisted of the following:

  • 500 squats
  • 200 push ups
  • 200 sit ups
  • Sprints while carrying a man of near equal weight on their back
  • 2-mile run with a man of equal weight on your back
  • Repeated runs up and down bleacher steps
  • Bear-crawls up steep hills
  • Lugging heavy barrels of water and sand bags up steep hills

 

The candidates who were still left at this point would then go on to do as many pull-ups as they can without stopping. 

From there, the candidates went to the actual Lion’s Den facility for several hours of sparring.

 

Shamrock wanted fighters that could get through this ordeal without quitting, even after their body had failed on them. 

It was at this point, when the candidate was still trying even long after their muscles had failed, that Ken Shamrock knew he had a Lion’s Den member on his hands.

 

Popular Disciplines Mixed martial arts (MMA) is a term used for no-holds-barred, full contact, combat sport that allows a wide variety of fighting techniques, from a mixture of martial arts traditions and non-traditions.

  • Stand-Up: Various forms of boxing, kickboxing, Muay Thai, and forms of full contact karate are trained to improve footwork, elbowing, kicking, kneeing and punching.
 
  • Clinch: Freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling, Sambo, and Judo are trained to improve clinching, takedowns and throws, while Muay Thai is trained to improve the striking aspect of the clinch.
 
  • Ground: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, shoot wrestling, catch wrestling, Judo, and Sambo are trained to improve submission holds, and defense against them. These styles are also trained to improve and maintain ground control.
 

While mixed martial arts was initially practiced almost exclusively by competitive fighters, this is no longer the case. 

As the sport has become more mainstream and more widely taught, it has become accessible to a broader range of practitioners of all ages. 

Proponents of this sort of training argue that it is safe for anyone, of any age, with varying levels of competitiveness.

Historically, The Lion’s Den is known for its brutal try-outs…

Once accepted into the Den, the members would live in Ken’s home having their dinner provided by Shamrock. Ken needed to make sure only the best got through. The try out consisted of the following:

  • 500 squats
  • 200 push ups
  • 200 sit ups
  • Sprints while carrying a man of near equal weight on their back
  • 2-mile run with a man of equal weight on your back
  • Repeated runs up and down bleacher steps
  • Bear-crawls up steep hills
  • Lugging heavy barrels of water and sand bags up steep hills
 

The candidates who were still left at this point would then go on to do as many pull-ups as they can without stopping. 

From there, the candidates went to the actual Lion’s Den facility for several hours of sparring.

Shamrock wanted fighters that could get through this ordeal without quitting, even after their body had failed on them. 

It was at this point, when the candidate was still trying even long after their muscles had failed, that Ken Shamrock knew he had a Lion’s Den member on his hands.

 

Popular Disciplines Mixed martial arts (MMA) is a term used for no-holds-barred, full contact, combat sport that allows a wide variety of fighting techniques, from a mixture of martial arts traditions and non-traditions.

  • Stand-Up: Various forms of boxing, kickboxing, Muay Thai, and forms of full contact karate are trained to improve footwork, elbowing, kicking, kneeing and punching.
 
  • Clinch: Freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling, Sambo, and Judo are trained to improve clinching, takedowns and throws, while Muay Thai is trained to improve the striking aspect of the clinch.
 
  • Ground: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, shoot wrestling, catch wrestling, Judo, and Sambo are trained to improve submission holds, and defense against them. These styles are also trained to improve and maintain ground control.
 

While mixed martial arts was initially practiced almost exclusively by competitive fighters, this is no longer the case. 

As the sport has become more mainstream and more widely taught, it has become accessible to a broader range of practitioners of all ages. 

Proponents of this sort of training argue that it is safe for anyone, of any age, with varying levels of competitiveness.

Ken Shamrock has successfully branded The Lion's Den as an internationally recognized name.

Ken Shamrock dominated no-holds-barred martial arts competitions in both America and Asia. He was the first Superfight Champion of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the first King of Pancrase, the pioneering Japanese fighting circuit, and is a former WWE superstar. 

With over 20 years of experience Ken Shamrock possesses one of the most celebrated careers in MMA history. No other fighter possesses the credentials that has rightfully earned him a place in MMA history.