UFC analyst Paul Felder will go away the published location Wednesday — in the course of the present — to nook a teammate.

Felder, a UFC light-weight fighter and one of many promotion’s prime on-air analysts, will quickly step away as coloration commentator and man the nook of longtime buddy Jared Gordon, who will combat Chris Fishgold on the prelims of the UFC Struggle Night time card in Abu Dhabi.

Gordon flew to Abu Dhabi final week with no nook individuals. The coaches and teammates from Sanford MMA in Florida who would usually be in his nook all examined constructive for COVID-19 or got here into contact with somebody who had the virus.

When Gordon arrived on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island, which has been dubbed “Struggle Island” for this monthlong slate of occasions, he reached out to Felder, whom he has recognized for almost a decade. Gordon requested Felder if he might be in his nook, and Felder obliged after getting permission from the UFC.

Gordon and Felder skilled collectively and fought on the identical playing cards whereas developing as execs within the Northeast. They skilled collectively on Donald Cerrone‘s BMF Ranch in Edgewood, New Mexico, and at Roufusport in Milwaukee. Gordon has struggled with habit through the years, overdosing on medication 3 times. Felder has been there throughout a few of his low factors, Gordon mentioned.

Felder as soon as excused himself from the published for one among Gordon’s fights as a result of the 2 are so shut. This time, Felder will depart his analyst seat and, in a full go well with, work Gordon’s nook throughout and between rounds. Felder additionally helped Gordon minimize weight this week.

“It means rather a lot to me,” Gordon mentioned. “He is seen me at my worst instances.”

Gordon mentioned he can have two different nook individuals: Garry Tonon and Eric Nicksick. Tonon, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu star, is a former coaching associate in New York. Nicksick, who coaches at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas, shall be cornering Dan Ige in the primary occasion Wednesday towards Calvin Kattar. Ige and Gordon are represented by the identical administration workforce, SuckerPunch Leisure.

The previous month has been tumultuous for Gordon. About three weeks in the past, Gordon mentioned his fiancée, Christina Gambino, suffered a miscarriage after which was recognized with the coronavirus. Gordon mentioned he was sick briefly as properly, with a 102-degree fever. When Gambino advised him that she had COVID-19, Gordon moved out and quarantined in one other condo. His take a look at for the virus got here again damaging.

“I needed to drop every little thing and pack all my stuff for Abu Dhabi early,” Gordon mentioned.

Earlier than his journey, Gordon obtained examined once more, and the consequence got here again damaging. He flew to Las Vegas on July 5, obtained examined by the UFC and quarantined. That take a look at was additionally damaging. Gordon boarded the UFC constitution on July 6 — the one UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman was on forward of UFC 251 on Saturday — en path to Abu Dhabi.

Like everybody else within the UFC touring occasion, Gordon was examined when he obtained to Abu Dhabi. The following day, he obtained a name from UFC matchmaker Mick Maynard, who advised him that his COVID-19 consequence got here again constructive. Gordon was examined two extra instances and needed to quarantine for 12 hours in his room.

Gordon mentioned he was “freaking out” — not simply because he may need been out of his bout but in addition as a result of he was in proximity to many individuals on the flight. He even took a photograph that was extensively shared with UFC president Dana White, UFC Corridor of Famer Matt Serra and UFC Corridor of Famer and analyst Michael Bisping. Gordon feared that he may need unknowingly triggered a COVID-19 outbreak on Struggle Island.

“I am like, ‘Holy s—, I simply uncovered Dana White, Serra and Bisping and everybody on the f—ing aircraft to coronavirus,'” Gordon mentioned. “It was a 15-hour flight. Somebody has to get it, being on the aircraft that lengthy. … It could have regarded just like the UFC botched their efforts. You may think about for 12 hours, I am on this room, and I am freaking out. I can not do something. I am quarantined. I used to be simply actually depressed for 12 hours.”

Gordon nonetheless labored out on his balcony in an effort to proceed slicing weight. The outcomes got here again from his assessments and had been damaging. He was examined once more, and the consequence was damaging once more. Gordon mentioned the one take a look at that was completely different needed to have been a false constructive.

Gordon was cleared and weighed in efficiently Tuesday. He and everybody else on the cardboard was examined once more, and people outcomes will come again previous to the occasion. Gordon will probably compete Wednesday and have his good buddy Felder by his aspect.

“One way or the other,” he mentioned, “I stored it collectively.”