Deep down Jen Pulver probably knows that it's time to move on. The former UFC lightweight champ, has lost six-of-seven fights. He was submitted in 33 seconds at WEC 41 on Sunday by Josh Grispi. He immediately stood up and gave the throat slit saying his career was done. Then he waved goodbye and said that was it. Two hours later when he sat down with Cagewriter and Ariel Helwani on the ESPNRadio1100 postfight show, his tune was a little different. Sure Pulver was at a loss for an explanation and confused, but the reality of "what's next" also hit.
There's lot of mid-level promotions to choose from, where Pulver could be a headliner and work at getting back to an elite level while making a decent living. But Pulver is also concerned about his legacy and how that'll be perceived:
"How do I tuck away to these smaller shows because they're still going to be fighting the former UFC world champion," Pulver told Cagewriter. "They're still going to be gunning for me. At least (now) I'm getting beat in the WEC world."
Pulver says he just wants that "W" again. Sure, an announcing job with the WEC would be nice but would it be enough to pay the bills? The little guys of the sport haven't made millions:
"You guys have to understand, I don't make six figures a year. You see me on TV, that don't mean squat," said Pulver, who banked just over $30,000 for his efforts on Sunday. "This is my job. My house is $156,000 living in Iowa. I got a 1999 Rodeo. Right now I gotta fight because that's my job. This is the field I want to be in."
Pulver said the fans in California told him not to quit:
"The keyboard warriors, they'll write me off and say 'he's done, he's done.' But I just sat there with all the fans of Sacramento and they all pretty much told me 'you're not done.'"
Pulver doesn't think he's in the same catagory as Chuck Liddell who's getting knocked out cold. The guy is only 34 years old and it's tough to tell someone move on to the next phase of their life at such a young age. We've seen plenty of boxers transition to lower levels and still make a living until their late 40's. Don't be shocked if that's what Pulver does. Until MMA has some sort of pension plan or an extensive public relations department where many of the old-timers can be given cushy jobs, more often than not, guys will fight on.