MMAWeekly Radio and Jeff Cain
Jens “Little Evil” Pulver entered the Pride Bushido lightweight tournament with hopes of becoming the first fighter ever to hold division championships in the two largest Mixed Martial Arts promotions in the world. He was coming off a knockout win over Tomomi “Taisho” Iwama and had a bit of momentum behind him. Those hopes and that momentum came to an abrupt halt when Pulver was stopped by Hayato “Mach” Sakurai just shy of the nine minute mark in the first round of the fight and the tournament. Jens’ manager, Monte Cox, recently spoke with MMAWeekly SoundOff Radio about the loss to Sakurai, what went wrong, and gave an update on injuries Pulver suffered during the bout.
Monte Cox didn’t make excuses for Jens Pulver’s loss to Hayato “Mach” Sakurai. Let’s face it, there are no excuses in this sport, but there are mistakes made. “I think in that fight, he [Pulver] knows it, he didn’t follow the game plan. That was a mistake. The game plan was to stay outside of Sakurai’s kicks, or stay inside of them, but not be in the middle and not get caught where he could pick him apart. Jens just has this I’ll take your best shot attitude and just keep coming forward. It makes for some exciting fights, but makes for a very short career, if that’s what you’re going to keep doing. We’ve just got to get it through his head, with these bigger guys, you just can’t take shots like that.”
Questioned if taking Sakurai to the ground was apart of the game plan, Monte replied, “We did talk about it. In fact, the whole month before the fight he didn’t train stand up at all. All he trained was ground, take downs, wrestling, and ground. That was mainly for Yves, in case we ran into Yves in the second round, or Sakurai, if we had trouble. He just said he never felt comfortable getting into position to take him down. I guess it’s one thing to train it in the gym, but in the fight he kind of reverted back to his old self. I mean he’s fun to watch. If he lands that left, he can drop anyone. It seemed to me, in that fight, he went back to the old Jens; just loading up the left. His jab was not effective. He wasn’t snapping his jab to make anybody worry about it. And Sakurai did a great job of kicking the left arm…He wanted to kick the arm hard and take the power out of his left. Jens’ elbow, his left elbow, is like double the normal size.”
The elbow injury wasn’t the worst damage Pulver suffered in his loss to Sakurai. An accidental poke caused trauma to Pulver’s right eye. As of Friday morning Jens’ condition was, Monte said, “He can’t see. He still hasn’t been able to open his right eye. We went to a specialist yesterday and it looks like they might do a steroid drop on his eye. He got poked in the eye, but it didn’t just scratch it. It actually took a chunk out. He’s got a corneal abrasion is what they call it. It’s right on top of the pupil. He was blind, from that point on, in that eye. He hasn’t seen since.”
Corneal abrasions usually heal, but are an irritating injury. The cornea is extremely sensitive and a cornea abrasion is usually painful. You may have the sensation of sand or grit in your eye. Blurred vision, sensitivity to light, headaches, over production of tears can all be accompanied with a corneal abrasion. The most common treatment is eye drops or ointment. Most small abrasions will heal within two or three days, but Pulver’s wasn’t a small scratch. The good news is, in all likelihood, Jens’ vision will restore to normal, and he’ll be fine.