UFC Makes ‘Unprecedented’ Move After Fighter’s Entire Team Hit With COVID-19

Paul Felder

Getty Paul Felder competes against Edson Barboza in their lightweight bout during UFC 242.

UFC lightweight fighter and color commentator Paul “The Irish Dragon” Felder will be working overtime on Wednesday. During the UFC Fight Night 172: Kattar vs. Ige preliminary card on July 15, featherweight Jared “Flash” Gordon will take on Chris Fishgold. Flash Gordon has been hit with a curveball, however. His cornermen and team have all tested positive for COVID-19 and are unable to coach him during his fight with Fishgold, according to Brian Butler-Au, CEO of SuckerPunch Entertainment.

Enter The Irish Dragon. Felder is a longtime training partner of Gordon’s, and he, along with Gordon, are signed to SuckerPunch Entertainment. In an “unprecedented” move, Felder will step away from commentating the fights to corner Gordon for the July 15 bout. The Irish Dragon will then resume commentating after the bout.

In a post on social media, Butler-Au wrote, “With no corners or coaches Jared was determined to fight and pressed through set back after setback and still made his way to Fight Island. In an unprecedented move, long time friend, training partner and fellow SP teammate, @felderpaul is scheduled to commentate the remaining events on Fight Island and has gotten clearance to come off the desk to help his friend through the fight during the event.”

According to the CEO, Flash Gordon will also be coached by “longtime [SuckerPunch Entertainment] friend” Erick Nicksick, manager and coach at Xtreme Couture, as well as headlining fighter and SuckerPunch Entertainment athlete Dan Ige.

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Flash Gordon Is 1-3 in His Last 4 Bouts & Will Be Competing in His 20th Pro Fight

Flash Gordon is in need of a victory. He has competed six times in the UFC and is 3-3, with all three of his losses coming in his last four matches. He last stepped into the Octagon on November 16, 2019, when he took on Charles Oliveira during UFC Fight Night: Błachowicz vs. Jacare. Oliveira knocked out Flash Gordon in the first round.

When he steps into the Octagon on Wednesday, it will be his 20th pro fight. His record currently sits at 15-4. Before signing with the UFC in 2017, Flash Gordon competed primarily for Cage Fury Fighting Championships (CFFC). He won and defended the CFFC featherweight title once.

In the UFC, Flash Gordon holds notable wins over Hacran Dias and Dan Moret.

Fishgold, Flash Gordon’s opponent for UFC Fight Night 172, is also coming off a loss. He last competed in June 2019 when he lost to Makwan Amirkhani by second-round anaconda choke. Fishgold is 1-2 in the UFC, holding a win over Daniel Teymur and a loss to Calvin Kattar. His pro record is 18-3-1.

It Is Unclear If The Irish Dragon Will Compete Inside the Octagon Again

Color commentating and cornering may be the closest Paul Felder ever gets to competing inside the Octagon again. The Irish Dragon is still ranked No. 7 in the lightweight division, however, it’s unclear if he will fight again. After losing a razor-close decision to Dan Hooker in their February fight, Felder announced in his post-fight interview that he was retiring from MMA. During the post-fight press conference, however, Felder backpedaled on his retirement claim and left his career up in the air.

Months later, Felder has still not confirmed which path he’s taking. At 35 years old, if Felder retires, he will finish his career with a pro record of 17-5.

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