I understand that most fans are always interested in the best and brightest stars in MMA. Fans gravitate towards fighters that are successful in the ring/cage. Look no further than the Fedor Emelianenko fans. While I am most certainly interested in the talented fighters in our sport, a have a soft spot for personal stories.
Growing up in Lubbock, Texas Davila says "I grew up fast. Growing up where I grew up, you had to." For those that are unfamiliar Lubbock, Texas has one of the highest crime rates in Texas. To get some perspective here is what neighborhoodscout.com had to say:
With a crime rate of 79 per one thousand residents, Lubbock has one of the highest crime rates in America compared to all communities of all sizes - from the smallest towns to the very largest cities. One's chance of becoming a victim of either violent or property crime here is one in 13. Within Texas, more than 90% of the communities have a lower crime rate than Lubbock... For Lubbock, we found that the violent crime rate is one of the highest in the nation, across communities of all sizes (both large and small). Violent offenses tracked included forcible rape, murder and non-negligent manslaughter, armed robbery, etc.
Growing up in one of the most vilolent areas of Texas Davila gravitated towards Wrestling in High School and eventually MMA. MMA (or NHB as it was called back then) gave Davila the release he needed. By 18 he has his first fight at USFW 12. Davila and his wife Gigi both picked up their very first wins on that card.
Eric Davila has been fighting for over 7 years. He has never been a UFC champion, has never held any major titles and he isn't a talented fighter. Davila is a committed husband and father that will go to any lenths to provide for his family.
Davila proved this when his wife was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. From his interview with examiner.com:
Yeah, I moved to Denver actually. The manager down there was taking a look at me and I was planning on making the move down to Denver but then my wife had gotten sick on me. I had to explain to him (the manager) that I was gonna move down south to a place about 30 minutes from San Antonio which is a lot closer to her mother and father and she had cancer in her ovaries. So for 5 years we were moved down there and there weren't really any MMA gyms in the San Antonio area. I think Pete was maybe in Dallas at the time.
There were a couple MMA gyms, but nobody at the caliber that I needed to pursue the career. So I just ended up getting two jobs. Me and my wife lived together we have 7 kids so yeah, just to keep food on the table and get her through her surgery, get her well again. Five years later she was cancer free and we decided that I needed to move back up to west Texas and get back in the gym.
Like most MMA fighters, Davila will never be a world champion. However, he can make a living on the regional scene. He can provide for his wife and 7 children. That is what is important to Davlia, not world titles, but family. "I am glad my children are growing up in a better environment than what I did."
Davila is set to face Pete Spratt on the undercard of Shark Fights 13. The undercard will be streaming live on Sherdog.com this Satuerday at 8pm EST.