Escalon High School alum Ethan Krieger, a 2019 graduate, got a chance to live out a dream earlier this month.
A football player and wrestler for the Cougars during his time at EHS, Krieger traveled to Susanville for a ‘Pure Combat’ mixed martial arts cage fight. He was on the card against Philip Sarber, who turned out to be a hometown favorite.
“I walked in there and found out he was from there,” Krieger said. “When he walked out, it went crazy.”
Krieger said he just tried to maintain focus and keep his composure, drawing on years of experience in karate and the advice of his dad, Ray, as he stepped in to the cage.
“It didn’t get real until I was in the cage and they shut the door,” Krieger added, noting that a little bit of panic set in when he realized there was nowhere to go.
Krieger entered the fight weighing in at about 155 pounds; Sarber tipped the scales closer to 170 for the Aug. 10 match.
But he quickly calmed down and focused on the task at hand.
“I got a first round TKO,” he said of taking down Sarber within the first three-minute round of the match. “A really good body shot dropped him.”
Krieger seized that opportunity to get in some more body blows but was called off by the referee, who stopped the fight in the first round.
“He left on a stretcher with a broken arm,” Krieger said of Sarber, who suffered the arm injury when Krieger slammed him to the ground.
“It was a fun way to end the summer,” admitted Krieger, who will be leaving soon to start college at Sacramento State, where he plans to study kinesiology.
As to whether his cage match career will continue, he’s not sure, but he’s happy he had the chance to finally mark it off his ‘to do’ list.
“My dad is my main coach and trainer so that was part of the fun,” he said, along with having some of his family members on the trip and getting texts and good wishes from plenty of friends.
Two teammates, CJ Bush and Ryan Williams, also did well on the night, said Krieger. He offered up several thanks for those that helped him get to the match and succeed, including his dad, coach Derek Scott, Moore’s Karate and K-Arrow Ranch.
“I just really appreciate all my friends and family for supporting me,” Krieger said. “This match was six hours away but it didn’t feel like it.”
Plus, he was happy that he won the match as his mom, Bonnie, was nervous about the entire trip and he didn’t want to let her down.
“Plus I get to go to college with a non-broken face,” he said.