Ultimate Fighting Champion veteran Danny Mitchell has made a career out of battling the fiercest of opponents to get to the top of his game.
But little did the Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter know that it would be the battles in his personal life that would prove the toughest to take.
It has certainly been a roller coaster few years for the highly ranked UK MMA fighter and promoter, after he received news that would continue to change and shape his life.
Like any footballer, they dream of making it big with their boyhood club or making it to the top and playing in the Premier League, the same can be said with fighters, they dream of competing with the best, to compete in the UFC.
Danny, 28, of Thorne, had the dream of becoming a UFC fighter but with dreams he also required the talent and determination, thankfully for him and the UFC, he had them both.
Following a string of great performances between 2010 and 2014, beating some of the best competition across the globe, Danny received that dream call, the UFC had offered him a contract.
“Finally getting to the UFC after watching it as a teenager was a crazy feeling. I spent pretty much all my life since I was 10 years old training and working towards that goal and to finally make it to the top makes it all worth while.”
Danny was realising his boyhood dream but his career celebrations ground to a halt after he received devastating news about his father.
Pete Mitchell, who Danny credits to be his biggest inspiration throughout his career, was severely ill after being diagnosed with cancer.
Despite achieving what he set out to do, nothing was more important to Danny than to be by his fathers side, so he left the UFC for a brief period to spend the little remaining time with his father that he could, before sadly passed away in April 2014.
“My dad was a big inspiration in my life, he was a very funny man always laughing and joking, many people didn’t realise that he couldn’t read and write properly as he rarely went to school. Instead he spent his life learning how to use his hands and was a self taught furniture maker who also like to wheel and deal antiques. Although very different to what I do, it made me realise that you can do whatever you want in life if you really want to.
“When he became ill I thought that he would be around for a few years at least but he deteriorated very fast and it was horrible to see such a strong man who was always around 22 stone, lose so much weight and become very weak. I was so happy that he go to see me fight in the UFC just that once before he died as I know he was very proud of everything I had done and he knew that the UFC was my goal.”
Danny returned to the UFC for his 2nd fight and whilst many MMA experts (including UFC president Dana White), thought that Danny did at the least enough to take a draw, he lost via a contentious decision. Following this defeat Danny was cut from the UFC.
The Doncaster man was still dealing with both the loss of his father and his career in the UFC not going to plan.
But a new chapter started for Danny and his long term girlfriend Jade Holland who were delighted when they found out they were about to become parents.
Jade and Danny, welcomed baby Roman Mitchell, on March 1st this year.
“Now I am a father myself I want to give my son everything that my father gave me and hopefully I can inspire Roman to do great things in his life, hopefully he becomes a fighter and achieves more than me that would be amazing”
Danny now concentrates on his CSFC promotion, his role as head coach at MMA training camp AVT and is back in training to compete with another organisation.
He said “It has certainly been one almighty ride the last 12 months, many highs and lows. My dad was my hero, he believed I could reach the top and I am so glad I had the opportunity to make him proud whist he was still alive.
“Now I have my own son to worry about, a fight career to get back on track, coaching my AVT team and putting on the best MMA fight shows the UK has ever seen.
“It all starts again on March 28th down at the Doncaster dome and as always, the atmosphere is going to be electric. Anyone who thinks they have to switch on BT Sport, or pay three figures to watch exciting MMA, think again. We promise a fantastic fight card, affordable tickets and all right here in Doncaster”