MMA hasn’t helped me, it only ‘made my life worse’ - UFC 278’s Jared Gordon opens up about career

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UFC lightweight Jared Gordon is among the many who have dealt with struggles with drug addiction. In a 2017 interview ahead of his UFC debut, he painted a picture of how his life was when he was hooked on pain pills and eventually, heroin.

“I overdosed three times. I was facing 25 years to life at one point. I’ve been homeless, panhandling, I’ve been to psych wards. I’ve been to rehab 10 times, and I’ve had near-death situations.

“At this point, I just consider myself grateful and extremely lucky and blessed to be where I am.”

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Now 18-5 as a professional with ten UFC fights under his belt, the 33-year-old is looking at his career differently. During the UFC 278 media day this week, Gordon was asked if his chosen profession helped him through his bouts with addiction in any way. He then gave this candid response.

“MMA hasn’t helped me at all. Actually, it’s made my life worse. I’m not even joking. MMA doesn’t give me any fulfillment, whatsoever,” he told reporters.

“I’m able to use my platform to help people through MMA, but whether I win or lose, three days later, I’m miserable again. Now, I gotta do it again.”

James Krause, who recently announced his retirement, says fighting and winning is a dopamine drip you can never get enough of. Being in that tough situation with addictive substances, Gordon shared a similar sentiment.

“It’s like drugs. I gotta look for another fix, or what’s next, what’s next? You see it all the time, these guys become multiple-time world champions, and they’re fighting into their 40s, looking for that next thing. They’re looking for something, they’re trying to fill a void.”

“Flash” Gordon does have a reason to fight on, and it’s much bigger than himself.

“The only thing that fills my void is god, my family, my wife, my relationships, and helping other people. That’s the only thing that gives me fulfillment, is helping other people,” he said.

“All my shiny shit doesn’t do anything for me, my car. I’m wearing a Rolex right now, and it’s just for this (presser). I like it, but it’s like a burden on my life. I’m still paying it off, I’ve owned it for a year.

“Fighting… I love martial arts, it’s my passion, and I love competing. But now, it’s not for me. None of this is for me. It’s for the people that I’m trying to help.”

After his third-round submission loss to Grant Dawson at UFC Vegas 53 in April, Gordon will aim to get himself back on the winning track against Leonardo Santos this weekend at the UFC 278 prelims in Utah.

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