Eddie Wineland
JESSICA WOOLF | THE TIMES Chesterton's Eddie Wineland looks to exchange against Rani Yahya in their WEC 40 bout in Chicago on April 5. Wineland was scheduled to fight Rafael Rebello at WEC 46 in Sacramento on Sunday. But Rebello pulled out and his new opponent will be the 6-foot-1 George Roop.

It'd be safe to assume Eddie Wineland doesn't get scared much.

After all, he's a cagefighter as well as a Chesterton firefighter. Being scared usually isn't in his nature.

Wineland has been preparing for his next bout for World Extreme Cagefighting at WEC 43 in Youngstown, Ohio, on Sept. 2. But on Wednesday night, getting back in the cage was far from his mind.

When an EF2 tornado picked up the roof of Wineland's townhouse complex in Chesterton on Wednesday night, he said he didn't have time to be scared -- even if he wanted to be.

"At the time, it happened so fast, I can't say I wasn't scared," Wineland said Friday. "I don't know what I was feeling. (The tornado) was there and gone so fast."

Wineland said because the complex was made of brick, engineers have to make sure no structural damage was done to the building.

"The way the roof was attached to brick, they're not sure if there was structural damage," Wineland said. "It's a two-story townhouse, and they said from the first story up, the entire second story will be annhilated and they'll redo it all. If it had been a wood-framed building, it would've exploded.

"For it to rip that big (of a roof off, the tornado) had to be pretty gnarly."

As a firefighter in Chesterton, Wineland normally would've been on disaster duty Thursday, aiding the cleanup. But he said he's been on vacation for 15 days -- so his biggest job was clearing his apartment for the workers to begin the rebuilding process. He said he will stay with a friend in Burns Harbor for now while his home is rebuilt.

"From 6:30 yesterday morning till 8 last night, I was moving all my stuff out. They're trying to get it gutted out as soon as possible," he said.

And all this while he has a fight looming against Manny Tapia less than two weeks away. It will be Wineland's first time back in the cage since WEC 40 in Chicago, when he suffered a first-round submission loss to Rani Yahya.

But Wineland, a former WEC bantamweight champ, said the tornado only set him back slightly.

"I only lost one day of training," he said. "I'm still not completely unpacked, and I'm heading to the gym right now to get a workout in. I had one day of setbacks -- hopefully that one day doesn't hinder me too much."

When asked if he was ready for Tapia, Wineland got a little more playful -- so at least he seems to be in good spirits despite the natural disaster that dropped into his training camp and life.

"I've been trying to wear overpriced Affliction shirts every day and I've been watching the movie 'Hot Rod' and I have the 'Ultimate Punch' perfected," Wineland joked, using the Affliction reference as a none-too-subtle knock on the bar and club scene wearing the shirts and "thinking they're fighters."

"I've been doing 40 crunches a day. I'm ready," Wineland said.

For now, it appears his sense of humor and a love for Andy Samberg movies is getting him through.

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