What figured to have been the time of his life turned into a nightmare for Jared Gordon prior to his win Wednesday over Chris Fishgold at Flash Forum on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi.
The fact that Gordon bothered to show up for the fight is remarkable; the fact that he won a 30-26 decision and was composed enough to discuss it after is mind-blowing.
Two weeks ago, his girlfriend, Christina, had a miscarriage at 10 weeks and the couple’s child was lost. Three days after that, she tested positive for COVID-19. All of his training partners at Sanford MMA in Florida got the virus, and so Gordon trained by himself.
Then, upon his arrival to Las Vegas for his flight to Abu Dhabi, all of his coaches tested positive for COVID-19 and couldn’t travel with him. Gordon, who passed his test in Las Vegas, made the 20-hour trip by himself, not sure what would happen but certain he would do everything in his power to fight.
Even with that attitude, it nearly didn’t happen. Upon arrival in Abu Dhabi, Gordon tested positive for the coronavirus. He was quarantined, but multiple repeat tests showed it was a false positive and he was cleared to fight.
He had to find a corner team, and his friend and former teammate, Paul Felder, volunteered. Felder was working on the UFC’s broadcast on ESPN. When the second fight of the night ended and Gordon-Fishgold was on tap, Felder left the broadcast booth and went to be with Gordon.
Eric Nicksick of XtremeCouture also joined him. It was a whirlwind but Gordon, an addict who recently hit 60 weeks of sobriety, didn’t let it impact him.
“I was going through so much negativity in my life and you don’t know a quarter of everything that I was facing, but I went in and did what I had to do,” Gordon said. “ … I got the job done. It’s my first time back at [featherweight] so I’m feeling it out and I’m super grateful to be here.”
It was a very strong performance under any circumstance, but it was incredible considering the personal strife that he went through.
But it was par for the course for Gordon’s life. At only 9 years old, he was raped by a camp counselor. He became a drug addict and then a dealer. After he became a pro fighter, he showed promise but his body would break down and he had two surgeries that slowed his rise.
He dropped to featherweight from lightweight, though, feels he’ll be able to become a factor.
After what he went through before the fight and how he performed Wednesday, doubt him at your own peril.