The Early Years
Red and his father used to pass the time by renting action and martial arts movies. “Bloodsport” being one of his favorites, Red noticed the Ultimate Fighting Championship videos looked like a real life version of the martial arts classic. They rented UFC 8, and after seeing Don Frye whoop some butt, Red was hooked. He proceeded to rent a new UFC every weekend and quickly learned the history of the sport.
As a freshman at UW Fond du Lac, Red decided to join a local gym at the recommendation of his buddy Pete Forbes. He started training Muay Thai under Ben Salas in December 1996, and soon discovered his love, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, in January. In February he entered an amateur MMA dojo tournament and won his 2 matches via submission, starting his competition addiction. He also met his long time BJJ coach Henry Matamoros as well as training partners Jason Kazmierczak and Slade Martin.
Stay In School?
Red continued training and competing as a UW Oshkosh college student. Young and dumb, Red turned pro and enjoyed fighting for weekend beer money. Red graduated Magna Cum Laude and earned the Biology Graduate of the Year award in 2001. The biology major and chemistry minor planned on going to medical school. Despite the great grades and MCAT score, apparently Red was too busy doing martial arts instead of volunteering and job shadowing, so Red’s acceptance to medical school was delayed. He decided to move to Milwaukee to train with Matamoros and round out his med school requirements.
Red Joins the UFC
While he enjoyed training and competing, Red had decided that being a professional fighter was not the smart career move and he put that on the back burner. That was until he saw the Ultimate Fighter Finale. So inspired by the war that Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar put on, Red decided to screw the “smart” option and pursue his dream. He decided that he only had a few years to be an athlete and he could always go back to school later, so in the summer of 2005 he rededicated himself to fighting. He took the hardest fights he could, and won 3 in a row including the XFO light-heavyweight title.
He got the UFC call in the summer of 2006. He won his UFC debut at UFC 62 versus Rob MacDonald via arm triangle choke in the first round.
Red retired from MMA competition in 2016. He continues to compete in grappling tournaments around the country including winning NAGA, Grapplers Quest, and Arnold/Gracie world championships medals. On April 12, 2008 Red was awarded his Black Belt by Professor Pedro Sauer after 11 years of training. In December 2010 Red opened his own gym. Red Schafer Mixed Martial Arts is Red’s attempt at combining the values he holds most dear: always focusing on the highest level technique (always keeping up with the newest trends while being grounded in the basics), embracing scientific training (using sports science to improve technical, physical, and coaching skills), and having a friendly, positive environment (being happy and safe while pushing each other to the highest level).