If the tank in your last pickup group seemed more than a little evil to you, perhaps you're closer to home than you realize. Perhaps that death knight was actually World Extreme Cagefighting featherweight and dedicated WoW fan Jens "Little Evil" Pulver. The former UFC lightweight champion blows off steam after a hard day of training with a well developed roster of WoW characters, some well known to his fans and others known only to close friends and guildmates.
The former The Ultimate Fighter 5 reality show coach has always been a gamer. His passion for gaming was recognized recently when he was immortalized as an NPC in Vogster Entertainment's CrimeCraft. He's been a devoted WoW player from the very start. His rogue, Lilevil, earned Grand Marshal status back in the days when grinding the ultimate PvP title was a grind of almost unimaginably enormous proportions.
Back in the ring (and after a heartbreaking stretch of losses), Pulver is slated to face Javier Vazquez on March 6 at WEC 47. We chatted with him by phone last week during a break in his pre-fight training regimen.
Server (alts) Burning Legion
WoWstyle Endgame raider (on an Arcane Horde mage), schedule permitting
15 Minutes of Fame: Jens, we hear nothing about you that doesn't include some mention of your love of WoW. Are you still playing as much as ever?
Jens Pulver: Not as much. For all the naysayers out there on the fighting aspect who say I play too much WoW and that might be the reason for my sudden downturn in the fighting world: Not true, not true. I'd been playing WoW a lot longer when I had my gigantic upturn, too. Everyone who's trying to say it's WoW -- that's not it.
There was a time back in the day when I grinded (to get) Grand Marshal the hard way. I didn't have anybody's help ... I don't really know what it became, but it was more of an obsession, because (once) I started, I'm like "Oh wait -- I'm not bailing on it now, no way!" It's just one of those things. And then a year later, they're just giving away the Grand Marshal dirks and stuff and I'm like, "Wow, what a slap!" But at least I did it. I don't care.
When do you find the time to play?
I just don't watch television. If I have time to sit down and watch TV, I'm flipping on the PC, and I'm gonna play my WoW or I'll do some FPS. I'll change it up, but I'd rather play a video game. I've always been into video games. If I have free time, I'm not gonna watch TV; I'm gonna play games.
So is Lilevil still your main character?
I keep the rogue hidden, only because he gets a lot of mail, and some of it's not very nice.
I've got a mage. He rocks. But you know what I tried? I hope I don't disgust too many people out there, because I was a Horde slayer for a long time -- but now I am Horde. I dig it. I like it. I like being a Troll. That's just fitting. I got a Troll mage, I got an Undead priest.
But what I've really been getting into is the death knight -- but not because everybody has a death knight, yeahyeah ... I waited a long time. A.), Because it started out at level 55 so I didn't have to go all the way from level 1, and B.), I just wanted to tank. I was all fired up to have a tank, you know, and I'm enjoying tanking now. I've never done that.
What about your main? Because your mage is in a guild that does endgame raiding, right?
My guild knows who I am (in the real world). Right now, especially, I have to miss a lot of raids and stuff only because my practice is at the same time. I don't get to raid anymore until probably March. (If they would raid on Friday/Saturday/Sunday then I could, because then I don't train in the afternoons; it's just all morning training.)
How do the fans react when you log in on the characters you've made publicly known?
When my rogue comes out, a lot of people know who that is. I created <UFC Fans>. But here's the bad part: When they message me, I feel the need to write everybody back. It's kinda like how I am in the fight world. If you ask me for an autograph, I'll stand there for six hours until the last person asks. I can't help it. So I'm in the middle of a raid, and somebody'll be talking to me about fighting – and it's always about fighting ...
(When) I started <UFC Fans>, I never really wanted to push too much. It's just weird, especially in World of Warcraft. I remember five years ago, I'd tell people yeah, I do this (fighting as a career). I mean, I actually had that name, Lilevil, and I was the world champion and was fighting in the UFC. Nobody had a clue. Not a CLUE. Now you can hear them talking about it in Trade chat and General chat and talking about the fights that are happening. (laughs) We're all growing up a little bit.
Obviously, my frost badges are sick. When Fester and Rotgot come out and the Professor, the new wing of ICC ... of course, training ... I haven't been able to play them because I can't raid with anybody at night. I don't really know if I want to PUG. I mean, you get some pretty bad experiences with PUGs.
I'd like to get a couple of Tier 10 pieces, only because the set bonus for an Arcane mage is pretty sick. So that's my big thing. But I'm picky, and I'll wait. I've got 151 badges, but I'm not going to buy one piece of armor until I got enough for two. I'm going straight for the set, or I'm not getting it.
You've been a gamer for years and years. What sucked you in, and why do you think you've stuck with WoW all these years?
Growing up, I've always had the Baldur's Gate, I've always had the Night Elves, Neverwinter Nights, just the whole Dungeons and Dragons realms and series behind them. I was an Elfquest fan when I was a kid, (back in) fourth grade, junior high. I've always loved elves. That's just always been my thing.
And then when they built a game like this ... They did a great job, in the aspect of they bring you back. It's like, "Man, I want that!" They always change the content when it's time. I've had a lot of friends on there that I talk to on Ventrilo. I may have never met them, or I might know them as a druid -- but you know what I'm saying? I still talk to them. It's just better than going out all the time. It keeps me at home. It's an inexpensive way to stay entertained. I've definitely made my money's worth playing it.
Sometimes it's tough, man. I'm not gonna lie. There are some raids, I'd like to reach through the screen and just PvP somebody, just BAM. But for the most part, I like the raiding. I like the new content. I like the way each class has its purpose, where you can't just run in and tank-and-spank everything under the sun. They've always done a great job, and nobody can match it.
How's gaming fitting in with family life? What does your wife think?
Oh, they love it! I do it during training camps and things like that because I can't go anywhere and I'm pinned down to eating. I get to eat, sleep, I train and then ... phht ... you know what I mean? But summertime, when we're out, then it's family. And I play. And they always know; they call me, and I'm right there.
What people don't understand (about when I'm training) is, I don't drink. I don't go out. I don't socialize. Especially when I'm training, and that's three months I gotta be dedicated. I don't get to pig out, eat what I want, I don't get to do anything in that aspect. Gaming is a good time for me, to just do my thing. I need a good laptop I can take on the road with me.
We know you're on a light WoW schedule right now because you're focused on training. What's the next step in the ring for you right now?
I'm going to fight March 6th. There's been talk about retirement, and this and that ... The reality is, I'm going to be fighting March 6 in Ohio.
I just opened up my gym. One of the things we're starting to work on is streaming live. Actually, if anybody ever wants to catch it, they can go to the live stream. I'm going to be working on flipping on the cameras all the time, and people can watch me train and stuff. The address is www.livestream.com/jenspulverlive. We need to start putting up a calendar to let people know when we're doing it.
We'll check it out. Thanks Jen, and we'll be rooting for you come March!
Cheer for Jens at WEC 47 March 6 at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
"I never thought of playing WoW like that!" - neither did we, until we talked with these players. From an Oscar-winning 3-D effects director to a rising pop singer ... from a quadriplegic player to a bunch of guys who get together for dinner and group raiding in person every week ... Catch our 2009 year-end retrospective for a year's worth of WoW personalities.