The UFC holding fights on a private island wasn’t the most unusual part of Wednesday nights UFC Fight Night Card.
UFC fighter, color commentator, and Philadelphian Paul Felder found himself wearing multiple hats as he went from the broadcast table, to cornering a fighter in the cage then back to the table for the reminder of the event.
This unique situation occurred when Felder’s longtime friend and teammate Jared Gordon, who has had the month from hell. Three weeks ago, Gordon and his fiancée, Christina Gambino, suffered the tragedy of a miscarriage. At the same time, Gambino was diagnosed with COVID-19 and Gordon was forced to move out and try to come to Abu Dhabi early.
The only problem was that Gordon was coming out alone. His normal coaches had all been exposed to someone with the disease, or had been diagnosed with it themselves and were unable to travel. So Gordon arrived in Vegas alone, and passed his own COVID test, then proceeded on the July 6th charter fight, with welterweight champion Kamru Usman, who was on his way to his title defense against Jorge Masvidal.
When they landed in Abu Dhabi, Gordon was tested again, and informed the next day he had tested positive. Naturally, Gordon was concerned that he caused an outbreak, one that included his boss.
“I’m like, ‘Holy s—, I just exposed Dana White, Serra and Bisping and everyone on the f—ing plane to coronavirus,'” Gordon said. “It was a 15-hour flight. Someone has to get it, being on the plane that long. … It would have looked like the UFC botched their efforts. You could imagine for 12 hours, I’m in this room, and I’m freaking out. I can’t do anything. I’m quarantined. I was just really depressed for 12 hours.”
Still, Gordon pressed on and continued to cut weight. He tested negative twice on subsequent tests and it was discovered his original test was actually a false positive. Gordon made weight and now his fight was on.
Gordon came to the ring flanked by Felder, Garry Tonon a top flight grappler and ONE FC fighter, and Xtreme Couture coach Eric Nicksick. Gordon came out and was able to win a dominant victory over his opponent Chris Fishgold. Gordon used heavy hands and a strong wrestling game to win and is now looking to make a run at featherweight.
Here’s Felder talking about the experience on SportsCenter.