Jens Pulver has heard it all.
He’s lost six of his last seven, and the MMA community is whispering that “Lil’ Evil” should retire and walk away as one of the greatest lighter weight fighters to ever exist.
But to Pulver, his legacy doesn’t exist as a fighter whose impeccable record defines him. He’d rather be known as one of the pioneers who became one of the first true mixed martial artists when nobody wanted to take part in the sport.”
“My legend isn’t that of a guy who beat every single person and went undefeated,” Pulver told “The Ground & Pound’s” Hector Castro and Ryan Loco. “My legacy is the guy who gave up everything, who pushed aside all the demons, found a goal and chose the sport that wasn’t loved by many.”
Pulver’s story is well known by now. The son of an alcoholic, abusive father and a fighter who’s had bouts with depression. His tale is now the focus of director Gregory Bayne.
Bayne met Pulver during a trip to Idaho, where Pulver’s life experiences combined with, perhaps, Pulver’s final training camp, made Bayne want to produce a documentary about the fighter.
“It’s an incredibly compelling story from day one,” said Bayne, who admits he is relatively new to the sport. “I’m very curious about the technique and athleticism, and how you continue on the drive to the next fight is where the spine of the story is.
“The key element is Jens’ human story and going from where he came from to where he is now, and everything in between. It’s a broad scope keyed in on Jen’s point of view, where he drove himself from the worst to the best of the situations.”
The duo is asking for donations from fans, and Bayne wants to raise $25,000 before the project is backed fully.
Bayne said they could have gone to Pulver’s various sponsors for additional funding, but he wanted to give back to the fans the best way he could, while providing them the ability to feel like they were part of the documentary.
“It’s better when you can control the story from the get go, instead of bringing in too many cooks in the kitchen,” Bayne said. “That said, we’re looking at every option available.”
Added Pulver: “I’ve always shared everything I’ve done. I’ve always shared it with the fans and understood they’re a big part of it.”
Fans can contribute from as little as $1 to up to $10,000.
The fund raising effort ends the afternoon of February 1.
“It’s growing everyday,” Bayne said. “It’s odd. I’ve had a lot of questions about the way it’s being done. We have this campaign at kickstarter.com. They can contribute to the project and there are rewards for contributing.”
Pulver’s fight is set for March 6 against Javier Vazquez at WEC 47. Pulver has gone back to what works best for him, working with the trainers that were there for the height of his success as well as working in his new gym in Nampa, Idaho.
He admits that he was a little “aimless” in his each of his losses, and Pulver isn’t predicting a first round knockout, rather he plans on grinding out the fight and finding the right opportunity to finish.
“I was the slow grinder,” Pulver said. “If they started fast, I would take them into deep water and I would drown them. If they were slow to start, I blew them out of the water.”
Win or lose, Pulver said his legacy is safe — both as a pioneer and as a successful fighter. He doesn’t have to look far to cement it.
“There’s still an athlete inside of me. A guy who loves to compete win or lose,” Pulver said. “I have five titles in the other room. I have that legacy. They look how it started, and the first champion is my name.
“The Godfather of the lightweight division — me.”