Trials and tribulations are an unfortunate occurrence everyone eventually encounters. Faced with a situation marked by physical and mental anguish, it’s ones willingness to overcome the adversity placed in front of them that makes them a stronger individual.

Shane “Lazarus” Lees is the definition of toughness. Stricken with his own series of conflicts, his fearless mentality carried him through each test, making him a prime example of one’s fortitude toward conquering an obstacle.

Growing up was no cakewalk for the young Shane Lees. With a father M.I.A and a single mother constantly working to provide for the household, troubles hit Lees with a heavy blow at the early stages of his life. However, during this dark period would shine a glimmer of bliss with the assistance of his older brother and participation in wrestling.

With a proper mentor guiding him and a great activity keeping him busy, the combination contributed to a stream of positivity and happiness within Shane, thus making the road less bumpy for him.

“It was just me and my brother for the longest time while my mom was working to keep us clothed, fed, and a roof over our head. My brother spent as much time in the wrestling room with me as he could. He has been my rock through everything. My brother took over as my father figure, which there couldn’t have been anything better for me.”

Flash-forward to becoming an adult, life’s burdens would continue to take a toll on Shane Lees. Eager to escape his troubles, he would soon make a major conversion by enlisting himself in the U.S military in 2001. Serving his country in three deployments to Iraq as a member of the 4th ID and 1st CAV division, Shane’s time on the battlefield found the heroic solider seeing many horrific incidents in combat that would make any normal man crumble under pressure. Through the many wars, the end result helped instilled a stronger mentality within Lees, which was recognized by his militant superiors becoming the honorary recipient of a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart.

“Being in Iraq with some of the things I’ve seen and done makes you grow up fast and really test your mental strength. I’ve lost many brothers to the war, but I’m proud to have served with them and their families should be proud of what they’ve done, paying the ultimate sacrifice for our country.”

After finishing his overseas military obligations, the army vet began searching for a new outlet to channel his energy into. Already embedded with a fighting spirit plus his prior experience in wrestling, it only seemed fitting that Shane would discover what he was looking for through mixed martial arts fighting.

This devotion to his craft would show in competition as he established a successful reign as an amateur fighter and continued into his current venture as a pro. Even when things seemed grim and facing the brink of defeat, Lees has been able to somehow muster the inner power to bounce back, slaying the opposition to secure the victory. This miraculous display of heart has given him an exclusive moniker in the cage, dubbed by his coaches and peers as “Larzarus”.

“I started MMA because I’ve wrestled and did well in those boxing smokers, I’m undefeated as an ammy and pro. I recently took 2nd in the All-Army Combatives Championships where I took a nice beating in the finals. Lazarus was brought back from the dead in the bible and that’s how Kris Perkins (coach, corner) came up with my nickname.

“I’ve always wondered how good my chin was and no matter the outcomes, showed everyone that I will never quit. Until that final bell rang I was telling myself I’m going to get the KO or snag a submission.”
Life lessons always have a way of bringing forth knowledge to an individual. Shane Lees without question has gained a wealth of knowledge through his journey. After all, it has made him what he is today. Currently taking time off recovering from a serious shoulder injury, when fully recovered Lees looks forward to jumping right back in the mix of things to continuing his winning ways.

“Looking back and what I’ve learned, I’d have to say that it’s not that I’ve learned it, but I’ve validated that Lees’ are just tough ass warriors. We work hard, we don’t quit, and we love to win!”

About The Author

Monta Wiley
Staff Writer

Monta Wiley is an aspiring sports journalist that has covered the world of MMA and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He has been a regular contributor to US Combat Sports. Monta has a Bachelor's degree in Aviation Administration from California State University-Los Angeles. Outside of his writing, you can find Monta at the gym honing his BJJ technique.