A career in esports can often be a short-lived one. Most gamers get their start in professional esports in their late teens, and it can burn someone out quickly.

Some esports pros even choose to leave after a few years into their career, choosing to go for other ventures instead.

Streaming and content creation have been an obvious choice for a lot of former pros, while others go into shoutcasting and analysis, or even coaching as a career path.

However, these pro players had something totally different in mind for their end-game goals. Here are five former esports pros that made a surprising shift in their careers.

Esports pros who’ve decided to shift to a different career

5. Alex Ich is now a software engineer at Riot

Alex Ish joins Riot Games
Screenshot by Nigel Zalamea/ONE Esports

Alexey “Alex Ich” Ichetovkin was one of the most recognizable midlaners in the EU LCS, most notably as part of Moscow Five, Gambit Gaming, and Team EnVyUs. He then announced his retirement from the competitive scene in 2018, and briefly took up streaming.

In late 2020, Alex announced a new chapter in his League journey, by joining the company behind it all, Riot Games. He’ll actually have a hand in crafting the very game that changed his life — talk about full circle!

4. Thresh is now a tech CEO

Dennis "Thresh" Fong wins first esports tournament
Screenshot by Nigel Zalamea/ONE Esports

Dennis “Thresh” Fong is credited by Guinness World Records as the first esports tournament champion, winning a Quake and Doom competition in 1995. He reached new levels of success as an entrepreneur, having co-founded tech companies like Lithium Technologies, Raptr, Xfire, and GGWP.

And if you think his in-game name is somewhat inspired by the League of Legends champion, it’s actually the other way around. Riot developer Duncan Shields has actually revealed that Thresh was named after Dennis Fong!

3. Holyman is now an attorney

Holyman becomes a lawyer
Credit: Mineski Rhom

Carlos “Holyman” Mangco was a part of the original Mineski Philippine team way back in 2007 when Dota 2 was still in development and it was Dota 1 in the tournament scene. Despite competing in international Dota tournaments, being a professional gamer back then wasn’t as fruitful of a career as it is today.

He then left the competitive scene to go to law school, but he still makes his presence felt by supporting the scene and current athletes, and of course, his original team, Mineski, which has now grown into an international esports brand.

2. dnm is now a doctor

Credit: Nodwin Gaming

Gokul “dnm” Sagar used to be a professional CS:GO player with Team Invictus, and even managed to represent his country in international tournaments. In 2017, he gave up the pro-gamer life to pursue medicine.

Dnm was even one of the brave front-liners that helped people that were affected by COVID-19 when the pandemic first hit in 2020.

1. Dafran is now a farmer

Dafran from OWL esports pro to farmer
Credit: Dafran

Probably one of the most surprising esports career shifts was that of Overwatch pro player Daniel “Dafran” Francesca. Even after being teased as a potential Valorant pro when the game was in its beta in 2020, Dafran announced that he was going to quit the professional scene to pursue farming.

No, not any in-game farming. Actual farming, with vegetables, fruits, and wide, green acres of land.

Dafran mentioned his reasons for retiring in a tweet, saying “We only have one life to live, do what makes you happy,” and that he’s already “spent a third of my life in front of the computer.”

Although it’s possible the controversy surrounding him as a professional player might have had a hand in this decision, we’re happy to see that he’s turned over a new leaf. Quite literally!

READ MORE: What to expect when you become an esports pro, by Chawy