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MMA event popular draw once again; Main Event ends on sad note

Frazee’s Kyler Wegner celebrates after his first-round TKO of Nate Hoffman during Saturday’s “No Mercy II” inside the Kent Freeman Arena. DL NEWSPAPERS/Brian Basham

The second installment of the Mixed Martial Arts “No Mercy” card brought yet another big crowd to the Kent Freeman Arena in Detroit Lakes, along with a near unfortunate tragedy.

The attendance was much larger than last year’s first No Mercy fight card, with Driller Presents promotions running the bill this time around.

There were six professional fights and five amateur bouts on the card and each one brought something to the table for the hyped-up crowd.

But the night ended on a sad note, as popular and talented Dan “The King” Kiser suffered a traumatic brain injury and a tracheal collapse during the main event bout against Frankie Johnson in a 155-pound professional fight.

After Johnson was able to land a left hand hook early in the fight, along with several up-kicks, he was able to snag a rear-naked choke hold on Kiser, as the referee stopped the fight after seeing he was knocked out.

Kiser was still unresponsive after the bell rung and an ambulance was called, as he was rushed to a hospital in Detroit Lakes, then to Sanford Medical Center in Fargo, after he momentarily stopped breathing.

But Kiser’s condition improved through the weekend, according to Ben Pherson, who writes for the Rochester Post-Bulletin, as well as runs the website and is a close follower of the sport.

“Dan did suffer a traumatic brain injury and had surgery the night of the fight to help drain fluid and relieve pressure and swelling on his brain,” Pherson said. “The surgery went very well and there were no complications.

“After speaking with a family member, every step along the way since he arrived in Fargo, Dan has made progress. He’s responsive, he knows what’s going on around him. In all aspects, his brain seems to be recovering at a rapid rate, and that’s fantastic to see.”

On Pherson’s website, Kiser’s father, Dan Sr., said his son keeps fighting on.

“He is out of the woods as far as fighting for staying here on earth; he turned that hard corner,” Dan Sr. said. “Now, he’s fighting for things like how much rehab he’s going to have to do. The word the doctors use is ‘deficits’.

“How many deficits will he have when this is done? That’s what he’s fighting for now.”

A couple of area fighters were able to come out of the night with victories, as Frazee’s Kyler Wegner won his pro 185-pound bout against Nate Hoffman by TKO in the first round.

Wegner was able to use his strength and wrestling ability to put Hoffman to the mat, where the Frazee product was able to unleash with a fury of punches, until the referee stopped the fight.

Wegner now is 2-0 inside Kent Freeman Arena and he is starting to build a name for himself in the Minnesota MMA world.

“Kyler was quite impressive that night,” Pherson said. “Nate Hoffman is a tough fight for anyone in the weight class. Hoffman took the fight very seriously, trained hard and was ready. He had just scored the biggest win of his career, too (before No Mercy II).

“But Wegner was clearly the better fighter that night. Maybe most impressive was the fact that he finished Hoffman. He’s a very tough guy to finish.”

With Wegner’s size and strength inside the ring, his future does look pretty good, as well.

“I definitely think he can continue on and improve at a rapid rate,” Pherson said. “He’s a big guy, and there is a shortage of quality big men in the sport right now. If Wegner keeps progressing, he can make it with a big-time promotion.”

Lake Park-Audubon’s Gemenie Strehlow won his MMA debut with a submission due to strikes two minutes into the first round over Jason Allred in the amateur portion of the card.

Strehlow relied on his wrestling background and was able to control Allred on the mat, where he unleashed his attack.

“The sky is the limit for (Strehlow),” Pherson added. “He beat a very tough fighter and a former pro athlete in Jason Allred. That’s an incredible win to start a career.

“I knew going in he had great wrestling ability, obviously. But that power was surprising. With his combination of power, athleticism and wrestling, he can climb the ladder quickly.”

Frazee’s Brian Heden came out on the short end in the Co-Main Event, losing to Travis Wiuff by TKO at the 4:17 mark of the first round.

Even though it is a setback for Heden, he is still a consummate professional in MMA and should be able to recover.

“Heden is a veteran, and a loss against one of the sport’s best in Travis Wiuff isn’t going to hinder him,” Pherson said. “I was impressed with Heden’s fearlessness. He clearly went in there to beat a UFC veteran. It’s a setback, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw Wiuff and Heden fight again for a rematch.”

No Mercy II at Kent Freeman Arena in Detroit Lakes, Saturday, May 24


155 — Frankie Johnson def. Dan Kiser by technical submission due to rear-naked choke in first round

Heavyweight — Travis Wiuff def. Brian Heden by TKO at 4:17 of first round. * - title fight

185 — Kyler Wegner def. Nate Hoffman by TKO in first round.

Heavyweight — Reese Hernandez def. Brad Scholten by TKO at 1:55 of first round.

135 — Erik Vo def. Nick Kirk by submission due to armbar at 1:35 of third round.

155 — Dan Monette def. Patrick Lee by KO at :16 of first round.


135 — Jason Huntley def. Fikret Saric by unanimous decision (30-27 on all three).

Heavyweight — Gemenie Strehlow def. Jason Allred by submission due to strikes at 2:00 of first round.

140 — Guadalupe Garza def. Zach Sullinger by submission due to triangle choke at :14 of second round.

170 — Jamie Naasz def. Raul Rodriguez by TKO at 2:35 of second round.

175 — Dan Adameitz def. Michael Kunz by TKO at 1:44 of first round.

(Results from

Brian Wierima
Detroit Lakes Newspapers Sports Editor for the last 15 years. St. Cloud State University graduate, who hails from Deer Creek, MN.