(Video courtesy YouTube/GregoryBayne)
If you’re like me, seeing Jens Pulver go from being a Tasmanian Devil-like dominant fighter, tearing through guys like John Lewis, Caol Uno, Dennis Hallman and BJ Penn, to being on the brink of retirement after losing eight of his last nine fights gives you a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach.
For those of you who don’t recognize the feeling, it’s called empathy.
Imagine being raised by an abusive father who other abusive fathers would hear stories of and say "Holy shit. That guy was an asshole," and rising above the problems in your life, escaping by wrestling, then fighting in mixed martial arts, only to have your career go from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows.
THAT’S what Jens has gone and is going through in his life.
Jens has always been one of my favorite fighters to watch and to interview. What you see is what you get with him every time. There’s no facade or fighter persona he puts on; there’s just Jens who has always carried himself in life and his career as he has always lost and as he has won: with dignity and class.
Watching him talk in the above preview from his new biographical film, "Driven" about the crossroads he’s at in his life is a bit unsettling for me as a fan and as a journalist who has had the pleasure of covering the former UFC lightweight champion’s exceptional career. I was never one of the guys calling for him to retire. I was more the guy who kept reassuring everyone he was OK and he had more fight in him, kind of like the kid whose parents want to put his old dog down, but he’s having none of it.
I still think Jens has some fight in him, but that’s not up to me or anyone else but him to decide.
What I can do, which all of us should do to support him, is help him get his movie finished because it looks like it’s going to be a must-own.
The film, which releases in November, is currently in the midst of its Last March campaign to pre-sale a grand total of 1,000 Limited Edition DVDs (less than 500 remain available) to help cover the remaining costs associated with producing the film. These DVDs will be signed by Jens, individually numbered, feature exclusive cover art, and additional video content.
They can be reserved now through September 10th for a contribution of $30 at http://jenspulverdriven.com.