Heavy.com recently announced that Jens Pulver would be retiring from fighting and picking up a microphone in the WEC booth. It sounded pretty good at the time, but unfortunately it ain’t true. Rumors surfaced shortly after saying Pulver had been cut loose, and Dana White not only confirmed the cut but the fact that the release was not so Jens could move to the commentary booth. Instead, Kenny Florian will take his place – as if being the UFC’s pet #1 contender at lightweight and host of ESPN’s MMA Live show wasn’t enough. So what does the future hold for Jens Pulver? More fighting, apparently. Not because he doesn’t ‘get’ that he’s on a downward spiral, but because he can’t afford not to fight.
“On the record, you can tell the whole world this: I love the UFC, I love the WEC, I love Zuffa,” Pulver said. “But I’m 0-5 (in my last five fights), so I get it. I’m a fighter. Fact is, I’ve been around a lot longer than these guys today, and I don’t make as much money as them. I’m 0-5, and that’s something I’ve got to fix with me — but I can’t take a year off to work on it. I’ve gotta fight.”
Not that I blame Zuffa entirely for Pulver’s money troubles … Pulver’s has netted 280k off his base pay since he returned to the company in 2006, not including a 65k FOTN bonus and however much he made off sponsors as a TUF coach and the (slightly old and busted) face of the WEC. If his manager wasn’t cracky, Jens should have been able to retire at this point with enough money to get whatever post-fight career endeavor he chose off the ground.
Still, it feels crappy to see another pioneer hurting for money. Sure, Jens might not be the best announcer in the world, but neither are the other fighters Zuffa rotates into the commentator’s chair. Pushing Pulver out in favor of a seasoned pro like Bellator’s Sean Wheelock would have been okay. But for Kenny Florian? No thanks. I’d rather have a mediocre commentator that needs the money than one that’s doing more than fine.