UFC lightweight Jared Gordon was far from 100 percent for his last Octagon appearance, but he has a good reason for it.
Gordon was involved in a street fight outside a barber shop in Queens, N.Y., this past December that resulted in him nearly losing three fingers. Gordon and a friend who trains Brazilian jiu-jitsu were talking to one of the friend’s former students when the group was attacked by what Gordon called “two gang members.” One of the two gang members spat in the ex-student’s face and took a swing at him, and that’s when Gordon and his friend stepped in to intervene.
“That’s when I jumped him,” Gordon told Bloody Elbow. “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 and his friend were able to win the altercation but let the two men go free before doing any serious damage. However, Gordon wasn’t as fortunate. Cuts on his index, middle and ring finger required 21 stitches. The cut on his middle finger reopened during training and required another seven stitches and a visit with a plastic surgeon.
Gordon later slipped on an escalator at Grand Central Station, and his hand opened up again. The middle finger eventually was swollen to grotesque proportions, “the size of a sausage,” Gordon said. The fighter again had to visit the plastic surgeon as a result.
“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.”
Nonetheless, Gordon went on to face Carlos Diego Ferreira at UFC Fight Night 126, where he fell via first-round technical knockout. That ended a five-bout winning streak for the 29-year-old known as “Flash.” He isn’t using the injury as an excuse, but he does admit that it affected his training.
“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.”
Gordon said that the ligament in his middle finger is still damaged, but he is planning on avoiding surgery.
“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.”