Jared Gordon was far from 100 percent going into his February bout against Carlos Diego Ferreira, which resulted in a TKO loss.
The UFC featherweight nearly lost three fingers in an altercation in Queens, New York last December, he told BloodyElbow.com earlier this month.
Gordon and a friend who practices jiu-jitsu went to a barber shop in the middle of the afternoon on Dec. 22. Upon their arrival, Gordon’s friend met a former student outside the shop and began talking to him. Gordon had never met the former student before.
Out of nowhere, Gordon said, two gang members approached the group and spat in the former student’s face, also attempting to punch him. Gordon’s friend tried to intervene, but it didn’t exactly work. One of the gang members pushed Gordon’s friend, and all hell broke loose.
“That’s when I jumped him,” Gordon said. “We all started fighting. My friend starts fighting the other kid, and they bumped into me and the kid I was fighting. We hit the storefront window, and the whole thing came down on us.”
Gordon said he and his friend “unfortunately” beat the two gang members up. They called the cops, who arrived at the scene and upon viewing of security footage, deemed what Gordon and his friend did an act of self-defense.
Gordon and his friend could have pressed charges against the two gang members who attacked Gordon’s friend’s former student, but they opted not to. Gordon said the police would have had to detain them, too — despite it being deemed self-defense — because the men would have likely said Gordon and his friend started the fight. By letting the gang members run free, Gordon and his friend avoided any and all trouble themselves.
So I was like, ‘F-ck that, I’m not going to jail for the night,’” Gordon said. “I’ve been to jail too many times. The cops said, ‘We’re just going to let it go then.’ It’s not worth the headache. You have to hire a lawyer and go through the whole process. F-ck that.”
Gordon suffered gashes on his index, middle and ring finger that required a total of 21 stitches. He returned to the gym 10 days later after having the stitches removed, and everything seemed fine. But while training, the cut on his middle finger opened back up, requiring another seven stitches and a visit to a plastic surgeon.
The bad luck didn’t end there.
A week later, it was a rainy day and Gordon was at Grand Central Station. He slipped on an escalator, and his entire hand busted open yet again. It didn’t seem too bad, so Gordon cleaned his hand up, returned home, and eventually went to sleep for the night. The next morning his middle finger was badly swollen — “the size of a sausage,” according to Gordon — and infected.
Less than three weeks before scheduled to face Ferreira, Gordon returned to the plastic surgeon.
“He had to reopen the stitches and drain my finger and pack it with gauze,” Gordon said. “I had an open wound in my hand for the next — actually, it was still open when I got to fight week. All of this completely damaged the ligament in my finger.”
Pulling out of the Ferreira bout was never an option for Gordon. He’s not someone who likes cancelling last minute, plus he had missed weight in the UFC before and didn’t want to make it look like he was having issues cutting weight again.
“I have never brought this up before, because I am not one to make excuses and I don’t want to make it look like I am making excuses,” Gordon said. “I took the fight because I didn’t want to pull out. I had missed weight before in my first fight, and this was my third fight — the last thing that I wanted to do was pull out and have it look like I was having weight cutting problems again or make it look like I am unreliable.”
Gordon suffered multiple accidental but illegal shots to the groin against Ferreira, and he said he could never find his rhythm in that fight. He suffered his first Octagon loss to the Brazilian, a betting underdog.
Gordon said he isn’t one to make excuses, but admitted he believes the fight was “fluky.”
“I had a terrible training camp because I couldn’t spar or wrestle or do jiu-jitsu,” he said. “All I did was run and shadow box and kick the bag for the whole fight camp, because I had one hand. Hats off to Diego; he did what he had to do. Nothing against him. But I just think that if the fight camp didn’t go down the way it did, [the fight] would be different. It is what it is.”
To this day, Gordon is still feeling the effects of the December altercation and multiple times his cuts reopened.
“The ligament is damaged still. I could still have surgery if I wanted,” Gordon said. “At the time (of the fight), I could barely get a serious grip with that hand. I still can’t bend the tip of my middle finger. The middle knuckle bends, but the tip doesn’t bend. Months ago, it was way worse. It was super sensitive. If it got touched or hit, it hurt a lot, because it was still in the healing process.”
Gordon doesn’t plan on getting surgery to fully repair his hand, because it’s much better than it was a few months ago. Plus, he said, the Roufusport product doesn’t want to sit out much longer, and surgery would keep him on the sidelines.
“I’m not going to get surgery, because it doesn’t hurt anymore — I just don’t have full function of the finger, but I don’t notice it anymore in training,” Gordon said. “My grip is fine, and I don’t really need to bend the tip of my middle finger anymore. When I was fighting Diego, it was hard to make a fist, but now it’s fine.”