(Pulver for UFC HOF 2011)
On this day 37 years ago, a boy named Jens Johnnie Pulver was born into a tumultuous household in Sunnyside, Washington.
Jens escaped from the violence and psychological abuse he, his sister, two brothers and mother endured daily from his namesake father who was a hard-drinking horse jockey, by dominating on the wrestling mats on weekends. It was there that his family would pretend they didn’t have a monster waiting for them back at their house and where they would escape from the sad reality that was their home life.
11 years ago this winter Pulver picked up and made the trek from California, where he had lived since moving out in his teens, to Davenport, Iowa with only a suitcase and a bag of change. He was put up by his soon-to-be manager Monte Cox when he showed up on his doorstep to ask the powerful agent to represent him. The Cox family took him in and treated him as one of their own children, while he set up shop training out of the fabled Miletich gym alongside some of Cox’s other marquee stable fighters like Matt Hughes, Tim Sylvia and the team’s leader, Pat Miletich.