Fighting For His Life

By Charelle Evelyn on September 23 2013

In the MMA circuit, Jason Keller was known to fight through pain. Broken hands, cauliflower ear exploding mid-fight, it didn’t matter – he was unstoppable.

But that was before his fighting career was cut short on Oct. 29, 2011. And it wasn’t an opponent that knocked him down, but gravity.

In high spirits after watching the BC Lions take down the Eskimos, Keller slid down a handrail at a SkyTrain station. As he reached the bottom, he was knocked off balance by a pole and his girlfriend and friends could only watch in horror as he fell backwards and down 25 feet only to have a metal newspaper box break his fall.

Keller’s prognosis was grim. “I fractured my skull three times, broke my nose, broke my jaw, broke six ribs, collapsed a lung, broken orbital” he said. He spent about a month in coma before opening his eyes. In the nine months he spent in the hospital, Keller had to relearn the basics. Walking, talking, and feeding himself were all foreign concepts. “It was a long road.”

But Keller – who had turned to a career in personal training when the going got tough – wasn’t interested in becoming a statistic.

“Fitness is about mindset. It is how bad do you want something? That’s what it is. I could still be in a wheelchair.” Making a new start wasn’t foreign to Keller. He had only been in the Lower Mainland for a handful of years. Growing up in Prince George, he was a ticking time bomb.

Raised by a single mother, Keller said he learned how to be a man from lessthan- reputable sources.

“They say you have to hit rock bottom. Everybody has a different rock bottom… and mine was basically realizing that I was going to end up dead or in jail for the rest of my life, and I didn’t want to do either of those,” Keller said. “I had a good family that cared about me and friends that cared about me so it was time to shit or get off the pot, right?” Keller took his passion for fitness to Vancouver where he studied as a personal trainer and eventually got into mixed martial arts.

A father to a 10-year-old daughter and eight-year-old son, Keller began giving back not just to his clients, but he also he teamed up with his coach Jimmie Griffith to create Team Bad Boy Outreach – a gym geared towards at-risk Surrey youth, giving them the opportunity to have the kind of constructive outlet Keller never had growing up. MMA isn’t an outlet for Keller anymore – he’s been warned by his doctors that he if steps into the ring again, it would be for the last time.

But his desire to help people reach their physical and mental goals never wavered and he founded Fit as a Fighter Fitness Training because his fitness level and fighting mentality played a big part in keeping him alive.

“That’s one of the reasons why I like helping people get back in shape, because you never know, one day it can help save your life,” Keller said.



Journalist, west coast native, music lover. Made in Canada.

A2013Norm Coyne