Mike grew up in Omaha, Nebraska and began his amateur career there. He wrestled in the NCAA tournament while attending the University of Nebraska, and lost a close match to a Dick Hutton, a three-time NCAA champion and a hall of famer himself.
Mike became a national champion in 1946 when he won the AAU heavyweight title, one of the most prestigious honors in all of amateur wrestling. In 1956, he embarked upon a pro career and was known as “Iron” Mike DiBiase for his superb strength and conditioning.
As a professional, he held many titles in his two-decade career, including the NWA world junior heavyweight championship. He was also a three-time NWA North American champion and Pacific Northwest champion. He was AWA International champion, as well. Mike married Helen Hilde, also a professional wrestler, and was the adopted father of wrestler Ted Dibiase, “The Million Dollar Man.”
He died of a heart attack in the ring following a match on July 2, 1969, in Texas. His pro career lasted just 13 years but it was a great run that made many fans for “Iron Mike.”