June 07, 2009
The Sacramento crowd at WEC 41 went nuts for Jen Pulver as he came to the cage. It was wishful thinking for one of the former stars of MMA, who had lost badly in three straight fights. Pulver, a former UFC lightweight champ, scored a big takedown against 20-year-old Josh Grispi just nine seconds into the fight but left his head exposed. Grispi locked in a deep guillotine choke. Pulver's strain was evident as he held out for a few seconds but he had to tap at 0:33 of the first round.
Pulver walked around the cage giving the throat slit sign to signify the end of his career. The frustration was evident as he waved goodbye to the crowd and maybe his career.
Grispi took little joy from the victory:
"I was afraid all the way down here. I was friggin' scared."
Pulver was emotional before speaking with WEC announcer Craig Hummer. First he gave Grispi credit:
"He's extremely tough. A lot of people didn't know he was," said Pulver. "I've been saying for a longtime there's a kid out there in the sixth grade training MMA right now. I only hoped to get the opportunity to fight him."
Pulver hinted further at retirement:
"I started right here. I'm not going to be the guy who keeps saying he's going to retire," said Pulver, who has lost 6-of-7 fights. "I think I just ended in the same place I started."
Pulver then backed off a retirement guarantee a bit:
"I will fight anyone they put in front of me. I won't make any excuses. I love you guys. I came out here and gave you everything I had. I love this sport. It's been an incredible run. Thank you for making an old man feel good."
The veteran of 35 MMA fights spoke during the pre-fight about trying to keep up with the young lions who have been training in MMA since a young age. Pulver, 33, is one of the rare older guys who's actually admitted the game has passed him by. Much like 39-year-old Chuck Liddell, who has dropped 4-of-5 fights and can't compete with all the young talent at 205 pounds, Pulver looks outgunned in every phase of the game right now.
Grispi told a funny story during a pre-fight interview with Cagewriter. He's a huge fan of Pulver and was really nervous about fighting his hero. So much so that he asked him for an autograph during the stare-down photos. Watch Cagewriter with Grispi here.
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