by Sandy Hackenmueller
On point. Frank Schuman.
Fight to Finish assistant Brandon Rooney hates that phrase, but even he will tell you that was exactly what Schuman was in his fight Saturday night.
Schuman walked in to the event with a perfect professional record and five fights under his belt. He knew he was up against a strong, reputable fighter in Robbie Gotreau, known for his powerful and solid stand-up. Schuman’s training camp had him ready and focused for this King of the Cage fight.
“During the walkout, I had a clear mind and I knew what I had to do,” Schuman said. “I had no option but to win. Just a few fights prior, I watched my teammate Adrian Pierson suffer a loss, and I wasn’t going to let us go 0-2 for the night.” He told Pierson he was going to get the “W” back and renew the flag – Schuman’s fight flag that Pierson also carried in his walkout.
“Once the music started, I looked at my team. All I could think about was what my coach Gary Engels told me the night before and right after Adrian’s fight. ‘The smart fighter will win this fight,’ Engels said. ‘Don’t go out and do anything we haven’t worked on, or try and make things happen. Take your time.’”
Schuman entered the stage with his traditional half lap around the cage. “During that time I could see Robbie staring at me, trying to set precedence in the cage,” he said. “I went to my corner, and looked at my wife sitting in the first row. At that time I broke all concentration on the fight. I told her I loved her and everything was ok.”
Next, he looked at Engels. “Gary said, ‘Well, here we go! Stay calm and focused. The smart fighter wins.’ Pierson nodded his head and smiled. I looked behind both of them to Nikki Engels, my third corner. Nikki had such a look of pride on her face with the ‘Let’s go!’ smile, but at the same time her eyes were watering as if she were going to cry. I looked back at my wife who was doing the same.
“I turned around to face the other direction, just to see my family and friends cheering and yelling for me. I noticed Jessica Greenfields stressing out. She calls herself ‘Mama Bear’ because she is a mother figure to me. I was staring at Jessica and smiling, and she finally looked at me after her husband Randy nudged her. I gestured to her with my hands to calm down, and I gave her the thumbs up. At that time the fight was about to begin.”
The crowd roared as KOTC announcer Dean Stone announced the fight. “I couldn’t even hear my own thoughts, it was so loud,” said Schuman. “After seeing everyone close to me worried, proud, excited and nervous all at the same time, it really set in that I had to come out with the win.”
The win happened in an impressive 40 seconds into round one. Schuman said his intentions were to come out explosive and wanting to bang it out. “Robbie had other plans, though,” he said. “He shot in for the takedown. Once we were on the ground, I countered it and was able to get back to my feet.
“We exchanged a few blows. I threw more than he did, which overwhelmed him, and caused him to shoot for another takedown. When he went to shoot, I threw a right knee, which landed flush to the bottom of his chin. Robbie was still able to take me down again.”
The brawl continued with Gotreau in side mount. “He tried to armbar me,” said Schuman. “I felt him setting it up. At the last second, I rolled out of it, taking side mount on him. I landed a big left elbow to his face. Then I took the full mount position. I landed a right hand to the head. Robbie rolled over to his belly, trying to get me off. He tried to escape through the back door.
“Once he rolled, I sat my hips up and took his back. When I got his back with both hooks in, I started looking for the armbar. Robbie picked his head up while I was looking for it, so I went for the rear naked choke. It was only 40.14 seconds of round one when Robbie tapped out.”
The crowd exploded. The opponents shook hands. In the post-fight interview, Stone informed Schuman that this win officially earned him a title shot for his next bout in October.
“It was amazing! It really hasn’t sunk in yet that I am the #1 contender for the KOTC Welterweight Title at 170 lbs, and that I fight for it in less than 3 months!” said Schuman.
“Pride, joy, and honor are a few words I can use to describe how I feel, both after my fight and right now.”