Just 18 days ago, Jake Shields' father passed away.
That very fact would be devastating enough but it's made even more so by the fact that Jack Shields was more than just a dad to Jake; he was his manager and mentor, coach and trainer, confidant and best friend.
"He would have wanted me to fight," remarked Shields.
We've seen plenty of inspirational stories in sports regarding high profile athletes overcoming the loss of a loved one to accomplish seemingly heroic feats. We watched Brett Favre torch the Oakland Raiders just one day after his father died in a football game in 2003. Michael Jordan winning a basketball championship and dedicated the victory to his father, who had passed away.
But those are team sports. Can we really expect Shields, who will be inside the cage all by himself with an extremely dangerous opponent trying to take his head off, to overcome?
Ellenberger feels bad for his opponent and certainly sympathizes with his loss, as he told Sherdog.com.
"It is very unfortunate to hear that. I feel bad for him. It's never easy going through something like that. I've had to do it a couple of times myself, but he's a professional athlete. He's a fighter and he's shown that by staying in this fight. I know he's ready to fight; otherwise, he wouldn't still be taking the fight. I was very sad to hear that about his father, but Saturday night, it's business. We're going to go out there and do our job."
As cold as it may seem, business is business and it's been good for Ellenberger as of late. He's won eight of his last nine fights with only a close split decision loss to current number one contender Carlos Condit marking his record.
He's also won four in a row and if he can push it to five with a win over a former title contender, his name will undoubtedly enter into the discussion as a potential challenger to the 170-pound throne.
He feels sympathy but he won't back down from finishing the job and advancing his own career.
Not one bit.