OMAHA, Neb. – Eric Schafer was almost a Division I college football player. But a hip pointer caused him to miss his senior high school season and the Big Ten conference teams that had shown interest in him as a linebacker suddenly began to encourage him to walk on.
Then, he nearly became a doctor. He graduated magna cum laude with a major in biology and a minor in chemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. His medical school entrance test results were very high, enough so that he could have been accepted pretty much wherever he wanted.
But what he wanted, really, was to fight. He bought the pay-per-views of most Ultimate Fighting Championship shows and quickly became enthralled. His first was UFC 8, when Don Frye won a tournament by beating Gary Goodridge in the final round.
“Once I discovered MMA,” Schafer said, grinning, “I never thought about football for a minute again.”
It’s hard to imagine a guy who looks like a grown-up Opie Taylor being a mean and snarling linebacker, so that was probably a good call. But, honestly, it wouldn’t be easy to guess Schafer’s profession now simply by looking at him.
He took the first step toward establishing himself in the UFC when he submitted hometown favorite Houston Alexander with a slick arm triangle choke Wednesday at 4:53 of the first round at the Omaha Civic Auditorium.LINK