Haunting Days Near An End For Jesse ‘The Ghost’ Gross
From controversial calls, to crushing defeats, and back to triumphant victory, Gross has rode a roller coaster of highs and lows, of life and death in the cage. Through his trials, Gross has built a huge following of devoted fans, but “The Ghost” admits, his days of haunting MMA cages across Canada are now numbered.
Following his recent win at Pro Fighting Series III in Sarnia this June over Tony Hervey, Gross still has a passion for the sport, but knows how fragile life as an MMA fighter can be.
“As a fighter, it’s always on some level relieving to win a fight,” says Gross about his most recent victory, a unanimous decision. “You train hard and make many sacrifices to get every bit of an edge on your opponent as possible, but at the end of the day there’s always so much uncertainty in this sport. A slip up of any kind, for the most minuscule amount of time can be an unfortunate reminder as you find yourself waking up on the canvas. So coming out a winner and relatively unharmed felt great.”That fine balance between victory and defeat, the thrill of both, and his love for competition has kept Gross competing, despite his realization that the ultimate dream, a position in the UFC, has likely passed him by.
“My love for the sport and my addiction for physical competition keeps me fighting. At this point, time is my enemy, and my now blemished record will likely keep me from ever making the UFC,” says Gross of his 9-4 professional record, which he, and most in the sport believe should be a 9-3 record due to a referees error in a fight against Brad Cardinal in 2011.
“It’s a harsh reality to look at,” added Gross about his chances of making the UFC, “However, I don’t feel as though I’ve wasted my talents.”
Nor do his devoted fans, who love Gross’ tenacity, and willingness to take on any competitor, even if the deck is stacked against him.
“I’ve always fought on attitude and it has gotten me in over my headed on several occasions,” says Gross. “That’s been a blessing and a curse. It’s put me in all out wars inside the cage, giving me reputation as a tough, exciting fighter for fans to watch. On the downside I’ve come up short in a fight or two and been forced to reevaluate my career on a couple occasions.”
Currently, that’s where Jesse “The Ghost” Gross stands, at a crossroad, knowing the end of his career is near. In fact, that end could come next October, win or lose, when Gross re-enters the cage at the Pro Fighting Series in London.
“It is likely this could very well be the last time this kid, representing Wallaceburg, Ontario, straps on the gloves and steps into the cage,” says Gross of his next fight.
“It’s been an extremely hard and emotional decision for me to make, but I’m without a doubt nearing the end of the road as a professional fighter.”
When Gross, who is now 26-years-old, does call it quits, he’ll leave the sport with a long list of supporters, standing beside him, as they have been since his first fight six years ago.
“I have received so many messages over the years from kids and peers from the Chatham-Kent community telling me to keep going, that I have all their support, that I’m an inspiration,” says Gross. “It’s heartfelt that so many people have taken a vast interest in my journey.”
“I hold every bit of that inside of me for when they call my name and I have to walk out to an undetermined fate inside that cage. “
As he climbs into the cage next Fall, his fate in the fight will be as undetermined as his fate after the fight. Will “The Ghost” continue to haunt? Will he call it quits?
Only one thing is certain, Gross will leave the sport thankful for all it has given him over the years, including the support of many close to him, and many who know him only as “The Ghost,” a tough and exciting fighter from Wallaceburg, Ontario.