“That might have been about the most intense situation,” Pulver said. “I was pretty heated. It was bad. There was even fighting going on amongst the crowd right there. Not like punching, but there was a lot going on.”
Pulver would go on to fight Urijah Faber for the WEC featherweight title seven months later in arguably the biggest fight in WEC history and Swanson would never earn a shot. The closest to the title he ever was had been erased in 35 seconds.
“It was out of my character. I was just so broke and frustrated and annoyed at the whole situation that somebody could just decide to push the fight back,” Swanson explained. “I was just starting to make it and still a fanboy, myself. I was excited about the opportunity and thought that I was being kind of played with.”
Well over a decade has passed and the two have never addressed the bad blood. The MMA circle is small and the two have crossed paths but no ill will exists. Despite leaving the WEC without a shot at the title, Swanson fought for the WEC until the merge with the UFC and has fought 19 times under the UFC lights.
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Without ever missing weight or having public disputes or meltdowns, Swanson remains one of the most popular fighters on the roster. With eight performance bonuses and a “Fight of the Year” distinction to his name it’s not hard to see why the 37-year-old is still stealing the show.
Pulver would lose his title shot to Faber but go on to fight four more times in the WEC and would later retire from MMA altogether.
The WEC’s most intense rivalry would go largely unnoticed. Those who did notice have likely forgotten. There’s no public outcry for Pulver and Swanson to officially bury the hatchet but the fact that two of the beloved fighters of all time aren’t at odds after all these years is as much of a feel good story as we may get as long as the door to resolution stays open.
“I know he had a rough go at life as well and I feel like we might have a lot in common,” Swanson explained. “I’m a fan of him. Just at that particular moment in time he put me in a really bad spot. I had no money. I had to borrow money to do another training camp and I think he made like 50 or 60 grand and I made five. Then he got to fight for the title, and I didn’t. It was my failure that made me bitter. I blamed that on him for a long time but at the end of the day it’s on me.”
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