• Twin brother, Joe, was diagnosed with a mysterious 1-in-a-million blood disease called PNH, or Paroxysmol Nocturnal Hemoglobinuria. Some estimates are that roughly half of all people with PNH will die within 10 years of diagnosis. Joe is only 26 years old
• Jake considers his brother Joe, who is also an MMA fighter with a 11-0 pro record, to be his inspiration. “Fighting for my brother is a burning fire in me,” Jake said. Joe was 24 when he was diagnosed at the Mayo Clinic (local doctors in Nebraska couldn’t pinpoint why an elite athlete was experiencing extreme exhaustion)
• About Joe’s condition, PNH: not inherited, not contagious person to person, is an acquired genetic mutation. Highly unpredictable disease that attacks red blood cells, often causing life-threatening blood clots and damage to vital organs.
• Prescription drug Joe must take, Soliris, costs $409,000-a-year for a one-year supply; ranked by Forbes mag as the most expensive prescription drug in the world.
• Joe Ellenberger has a so-called “Midas Touch.” He holds Bachelors and master’s degrees. He was an academic All-American, Div. 2 All-American wrestler. The Ellenberger brothers had dreams of making history by becoming the first brother tandem to win UFC titles.
• Joe continues to corner Jake at all of his UFC fights
• Joe receives blood transfusions every two weeks to manage his condition. “I live my life two weeks at a time,” he said. Joe said insurance only covers 20 percent of the cost of his $409,000 annual medication; a group called the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) pays for the rest
• Attended University of Nebraska-Omaha, where Jake studied psychology and wrestled for the Division II wrestling national powerhouse
• 25-5 record, 15 TKOs – giving him one of the highest knockout ratios in the UFC welterweight division.
• Jake is a former U.S. Marine
• Blue collar guy who hails from Nebraska (son of an iron worker)
TRAINING: Conditioning in the AM followed by striking/sparring. 3 days jiu-jitsu in the evenings.
When and why did you start training for fighting? I started training about nine years ago, after watching my buddy fight in a local promotion, the Victory Fighting Championships. I was hooked ever since.
What ranks and titles have you held? I hold the Victory Fighting Championships welterweight title, 2 time IFC world welterweight champion.
Do you have any heroes? My Brothers Joe and Adam, My parents and My Uncle Stu.
What does it mean for you to fight in the UFC? I get to showcase my skills against the best fighters in the world.
Did you go to college and if so what degree did you earn? I went to the University of Nebraska at Omaha for 3 years, where I studied psychology and was an assistant coach for wrestling.
What was your job before you started fighting? Before fighting I was a full time college student and a former Marine.
Specific accomplishments in pro competition? KO'ed MMA legend Jose "Pele" Landi
Ranks in any martial arts styles: I train Brazilian Jiu-jitsu under Rodrigo Vaghi and have a Blue belt in BJJ.
Favorite grappling technique: Chokes
Favorite Striking technique: Uppercut