Jens Pulver, 0-5 in recent outings, is a 36-year-old featherweight, which is as unforgiving a situation as you'll find in combat sports. Speed is the price of admission at that size, and Pulver no longer has it. He may or may not put together wins against under-qualified competition in smaller shows; either way, his best opportunities are probably behind a microphone.
Don't miss a moment of the latest MMA coverage from around the world. Follow us on Twitter and stay informed. Join »
That no longer appears to be an option, at least under the Zuffa umbrella: Pulver has been released from his WEC contract, which eliminates any potential to be a supporting broadcaster. In a statement online, Pulver suggested the UFC was punishing him because he once left the company to pursue more lucrative opportunities at a time when the promotion was treading water.
How sad. Despite sacrificing as much of his body as any of its athletes, he possesses nowhere near their level of financial security. For someone who contributed as much to WEC history as Pulver did -- including being the first UFC lightweight champion -- a nonviolent job opportunity would be the absolute least they could do.
And it would hardly be charity.
In the absence of a fighter's union, the responsibility for caring for athletes after their athletic time is done will continue to fall on the promotion. They may reject that idea, but there is a price to be paid for record profits and being an industry leader. And the price is helping to take care of the fighters who helped bring you that success.