Paging Eric Schafer. Paging Eric “Red” Schafer.
“I’m probably gonna see a lot worse things once I become a doctor than I do in the cage,” said Schafer.
After graduating Magna Cum Laude from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh with bachelor’s of science in Biology-Chemistry, Schafer performed the same blood tests for HIV and hepatitis he now takes before fights, so, “I’m not too afraid of blood,” the Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight vet said.
Schafer said he started competing in mixed martial arts in college for “party money and stuff,” but his post-graduate goals kept him from pursuing mixed martial arts too seriously. But the Griffin-Bonnar Boom inspired Schafer to change course, at least temporarily. “I was kind of a semi-pro fighter and all of a sudden I’m in the ring with these guys,” said Schafer.
The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt plans to pursue a career in healing after his career in hurting comes to a close. Schafer’s next chance to forestall the inevitable comes at UFC 104 when he takes on “The Ultimate Fighter Season 8” winner Ryan Bader at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Calif..
The last time Schafer mixed it up with reality TV stars – TUF 3 winner Michael Bisping and TUF 1 runner-up Stephan Bonnar – he believes nerves got the best of him. But against Bader, Schafer feels his experience level coupled with mental preparation is the difference.
“I think Bader is a great step up,” he said, calling the former Arizona State University wrestler a “tough undefeated fighter.”
Training alongside Ben Rothwell, Pat Berry, and Razak Al-Hassan, all of whom will also compete at UFC 104, the Duke Rofus understudy believes a win over the two-time Division I All-American will put him solidly among the UFC’s top 10 205-ers.
Despite two seemingly conflicting dreams of becoming a doctor and UFC light heavyweight champion (he would prefer the latter), Schafer is having fun. “I could easily probably be a doctor by now, making a lot of money, being very happy, very safe,” he said. “But I’m so glad I didn’t—at least took a break and to do this, because this is the greatest.”
Schafer appeared on Fox Sports’ Inside the Cage on Reno, Nev. AM 1450. Inside the Cage is hosted by Greg Delong with co-host Danny Acosta.