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Paul Felder reveals extent of injuries from main event clash with Dan Hooker

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Based on Paul Felder’s list of injuries coming from his epic back-and-forth main event clash with Dan Hooker at UFC Auckland, there’s no surprise that combat sports are commonly referred to as “the hurt business.”

Although there were some initial concerns that Felder’s state could be serious, he explained that he is on the mend after returning home to Philadelphia on the back of the marquee bout in New Zealand.

“With the eye, there’s a couple of orbital floor fractures, which happen more often than some of the casual fans will know about. Any time we’re breaking our noses and stuff we get [damage] to the orbital floor—it’s small bones under your eye they’re like egg shells—they crack quite often,” Felder told MMA Fighting’s Eurobash podcast.

“The way everything is looking now, I won’t need any kind of plates or surgery. Everything will heal on it’s own, it will be an eight-week, no-contact type of situation. My ankle is still really sore just because of the calf kicks and kicking him my feet always swell after fights and traveling, and then you go out and eat 3,000 calories of donuts in one sitting, they swell up a bit!”

“The Irish Dragon” outlined how he developed rhabdomyolysis—a muscle breakdown that causes the release of myoglobin into the bloodstream—due to his physical output during the headline fight.

“I had a crazy scare with some [rhabdomyolysis], which is [a condition that affects] your kidneys. Your muscle starts breaking down and producing this stuff that gets into your blood and your kidneys work to filter it out. It can be really serious, but luckily it was right after the fight when I was in the emergency room. The way you get rid of it is you have to hydrate and rest like a maniac, so basically I was put on five bags of IVs for the 24 hours I was in the hospital,” he explained.

“They were checking my kidney function the whole time, they kept taking my blood to see if it was going down and that’s why they eventually released me – they flushed it enough to where my kidneys were operating. I stayed hydrated, I had been staying hydrated since I left the hospital. I haven’t really been drinking too much or anything like that because I’ve been worried about my kidneys. That was the only problem, getting done with a huge fight and wanting to drink beer, I was like, ‘Ehhh…I’ll wait on that.’”

Felder clarified that his kidney issue didn’t stem from his weight cut and also highlighted that medics were worried that he developed compartment syndrome—a painful condition that occurs when pressure within the muscles builds to dangerous levels—which could have forced a very gruesome treatment.

“That was the worry, letting me go out of there and still having this effecting my kidneys, but once I was showing everything was getting operational and functioning and my urine was completely clear by the time I was leaving there. And to clear it up, some people think that this happened during my weight cut. I didn’t have to endure this in my weight cut, it was post-fight. It was from the exertion of the fight and they were worried that it could have been from my calf getting compartment syndrome, which is when the swelling is too much for your body to handle. What happens is, if it swells to more than it can handle your body will actually just start strangulating the muscles to stop the swelling, at which point it would kill the muscle in your body,” Felder said.

“One of the ways they deal with is they actually slice open your muscles in giant slices to relieve the tension and then they sew them back up when the inflammation goes down. I didn’t want that at all, as you can imagine, so I was elevating it and icing it like crazy. They didn’t think that I had it, but they wanted to keep me over night to make sure I didn’t. Any time you get that stuff going into your kidneys they were thinking that it also could’ve been compartment syndrome, but it looked like it was [rhabdomyolysis], just overexertion and the breakdown of my muscles naturally from that as opposed to one serious thing, but I didn’t end up having compartment syndrome.”

Felder also explained the mental toll fights takes on athletes, whether your hand is raised or not.

“It’s tough, you kind of get this like… and all the fighters talk about this stuff because they know… it’s like, ‘How are you feeling?’ and this is even if you’ve won. A lot of times they’ll be like, ‘Hey, how are you holding up?’ because it’s so, so much and so much raw emotion and relief and stress and excitement… and then it’s over and it’s now about the pay-per-view this weekend. You’re kind of old news very quickly in the sport of mixed martial arts, but I’m getting pretty good at that. I love the attention, but then when it’s over I go back to Philly, just outside of the city in my little townhouse with my daughter and my family, and I’m just kicking it on the couch. I’ve learned to be really low key when I’m not in the spotlight,” he said.

“I’ve had [a long spell] like with the Mike Perry fight when I had a broken arm and you have constant reminders, or the lung injury with James Vick, those ones were tougher to overcome, but at least this one already my face is healing up, my leg is healing up and I’m walking around. I feel like I’m going to move on much quicker from this one. And I did my job. You know, my biggest concern with that was getting this main event, having the UFC finally trust me. Dana White, Sean Shelby giving me this opportunity that I have been begging for. The fear as you get closer and closer is – what if I sh*t the bed? What if I go out there and Dan Hooker knocks me out in 30 seconds? We see it happen to the best guys in the world. That sh*t is a reality and it wears on you the whole time no matter how prepared you are, no matter how good you are, you don’t want to blow it. Sometimes we do.”

Check out Paul Felder’s latest appearance on Eurobash. It begins at 5:00.

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