Jared Gordon, aka “Flash,” is scheduled to face Leonardo Santos this Saturday at UFC 278, however whether or not he's victorious on the evening, or not, he’s lastly profitable at life.
The UFC light-weight’s world went right into a tailspin at 19 years of age when, battling psychological and bodily ache, the MMA star turned hooked on heroin. Regular drug misuse, and overdose, would plague the fighter till he absolutely dedicated to turning his life round in 2015. It’s a cautionary story that Gordon takes possession of, and he hopes to make use of these troubled experiences to carry himself and others who could also be going through related demons.
The 33-year-old talks solely to M&F about his darkest moments and the necessary components which have helped to show his life round.
As we sit down for this Q&A, Jared Gordon has been within the information once more. This time the headlines have been generated by an Instagram submit that “Flash” made on August 8, showing to point out an altercation the place the previous Lightweight and Featherweight Champion needed to subdue a person trying to assault him with a baseball bat. This looks like pretty much as good a spot as any to start our chat.
Lots of people on social media appeared stunned that you just confirmed nice self-control when restraining your attacker. What went down there?
No one acquired damage. [If] you begin hitting individuals, you’ll in all probability get entangled with the police. I used to be on trip in Chicago. I used to be with my mother and father who're of their 60s, and I used to be with my cousin and her husband, and I wasn’t about to begin beating somebody’s face in, in entrance of them. (laughs)
He was at a pull-through ATM machine, and on his bumper sticker it mentioned “I love crack wh**res,” so I noticed the bumper sticker and I assumed it was humorous, so I took an image of it and he acquired out of his automotive … and went into his trunk and I’m pondering: what if this man pulls out a gun or like a machete or one thing, however he pulled out a bat and that was that.
He picked the mistaken man to entrance as much as, that’s for certain! Of course, you have been already a extremely skilled competitor earlier than becoming a member of the Kill Cliff Fight Club (previously Sanford MMA) in 2019, however what has that transfer been like for you?
I’ve recognized Henry Hooft, the pinnacle coach, for fairly a while, since I used to be in my early 20s, so I circled again to him in 2019 and its simply extra like my type at [this] health club. The wrestling, the best way that they maintain their practices, the push that we get on daily basis, everybody is sweet there. The stage of coaching companions is admittedly excessive. I’m studying rather a lot, I’m nonetheless studying on daily basis and it’s only a actually good match for me, in order that’s why I ended up again down right here.
How is life in your 30s completely different from life in your 20s?
I truly really feel higher now than I ever did. Also, once I was in my 20s I used to be a raging drug addict, in order that didn’t assist. But I really feel stronger, and extra spiritually match than I ever did. I feel I’m the very best model of Jared Gordon than I’ve ever been.
Now that you've got turned your life round, do you're feeling like your hardest opponent was truly your self?
My worst enemy was at all times me. I at all times self-sabotaged. Any time that I took the steering wheel or did what I wished to do “Jared’s way,” I crashed and burned. I’m married now … when my relationship is wholesome together with her, the whole lot else is significantly better, so it takes a number of work and if I’m not mentally match, and I don’t love myself, how might I like anybody else and provides them the eye that they want?
Your spouse Christina has clearly been a terrific assist to you. We additionally thank you for the work that you just do, to try to attain out to others who could also be going by their very own psychological well being struggles.
One of my greatest mates took his personal life just a little over a yr in the past and I had no concept that he was hurting a lot. He would discuss to me like the whole lot was okay, and that’s my objective now, to make use of my platform to assist different individuals. I used to be an I.V. heroin, cocaine addict. I couldn’t hold a needle out of my arm for years. It’s not about me anymore. It’s about everybody else that's sick and struggling, that wants assist. You know, I’m a sexual assault sufferer, I’ve tried killing myself and I used to be a horrible drug addict so if I can assist individuals, that’s my objective now. Sometimes I really feel like a damaged document however I do know that that is what my mission is. That’s what God desires me to do, is to assist others. I have to win, to have that platform.
You are positively not a damaged document. You solely have to achieve one one who wants to listen to your story and it might make all of the distinction on the planet. Support techniques are so necessary and one other individual that has been a constructive affect in your individual life is Jason Strout . How would you describe the bond that you just guys have?
I met Jason Strout once I was like 23, again in New York City and he noticed me undergo all of it. I might present as much as the health club with monitor marks on my arms. He by no means stopped making an attempt to assist me. So, he’s like my older brother now. He’s cornered me in shut to twenty skilled fights. He’s made me the fighter that I'm now, and I owe him a lot. He gave me what I wanted to listen to and it might give me a number of motivation and drive to raised myself. Jason is a big a part of my community. And I've so many different individuals. I've a sports activities psychologist, I am going to a therapist; a trauma specialist. I've my household, my spouse … my mother and father have been the spine of my life. I might a hundred percent be useless proper now or in jail [without that support].
Well, thank goodness you had that assist. And there will likely be individuals watching your fights which might be in related conditions, questioning if they'll make constructive modifications. What would you say to these individuals?
I might say that if I can do it, you'll be able to positively do it, too. I wasn’t identical to smoking pot and consuming a few beers right here and there. I used to be panhandling, I used to be homeless. I used to be an actual drug addict to the core, you already know? I used to be out and in. I simply didn’t [quit drugs] in a single shot. I used to be out and in of remedy facilities, psyche wards, homeless shelters, therapeutic communities… jails. It wasn’t east for me. It took me years. So, I might say you should discover a objective, discover your increased energy no matter it's, it may very well be something… you probably have youngsters, or a sick guardian that wants your assist, you can use that as your larger reasoning. You gotta get skilled assist and it may be accomplished. I’ve seen individuals come again mainly from the useless and stay a stupendous life.
When did you notice that you just needed to make modifications for your self?
I had my final overdose on Christmas Eve, 2015. I had been dwelling on the road. For 4 or 5 months I used to be actually hitting it laborious, and you already know, once I awoke within the hospital on the 26th of December I’d simply had sufficient. I used to be simply sick of doing what I used to be doing and I checked myself right into a detox, and I simply began listening to people who had been although what I had been although, and so they informed me what I wanted to do and I mentioned ‘alright, I’ll do it.’ I gave it a shot after which slowly issues began coming again to me. I began getting more healthy once more. I acquired again within the health club, I continued doing the issues that they informed me to do after which I acquired into UFC a yr later and I not too long ago purchased my first home. I've the belief of my family and friends once more, which is priceless. I wish to assist different individuals, which can also be priceless. I actually had nothing and now I've the whole lot that I want. Staying within the second is the one factor that issues. Right now, what can I do to make my probabilities at surviving, and being a greater individual, increased? That’s the place I’m at now. I've to work at my life on daily basis.
Do you employ any of the Kill Cliff merchandise?
The CBD drinks, we drink them. We have them within the health club, stocked up on a regular basis. The Joe Rogan taste (the Flaming Joe), the pineapple is one among my favorites. They are actually, tremendous clear with plenty of nutritional vitamins and vitamins that we'd like, to get better to remain fueled by the day. Kill Cliff has acquired a very good factor going, for certain.
You’ve had some points with making weight at 145 kilos. Now that you've got moved as much as 155 kilos does this take away a few of the pre-fight stress? Do you need to prepare in a different way for heavier opponents?
It’s not essentially that they're stronger, however [maybe a] longer [reach], or taller. So, I positively needed to make some changes. But there’s a number of guys in that division which might be my peak. What I’ve realized is, it’s not essentially about being larger and stronger, however simply being higher and extra technical.
Making weight now could be rather a lot simpler than it was at 145. I really feel stronger, more healthy, and I’m not so targeted on the weight-reduction plan and reducing the water weight. So, I get extra out of my coaching periods and I can focus extra on method, as an alternative of like ‘Oh, I need to lose weight’ which may be very traumatic, you already know? I’m not 22-years-old any extra. I’m 33 now, so it’s more durable and more durable to chop weight, particularly in case you are reducing rather a lot. So, I’m more healthy, I’m fitter. Less accidents. Better for me on the whole.
Do you will have any most popular strategies of restoration?
I do a number of ice baths, and I do a number of saunas. I additionally use Epson salt baths. But I additionally do a number of respiratory stuff. Meditation and [controlled] respiratory actually brings me all the way down to a restorative, regenerative state. I get essentially the most features once I’m coaching actually laborious after which I concentrate on my recoveries. I do [meditation] within the morning, early afternoon after which evening time. I received’t take a look at social media earlier than midday … I stay in Florida so I simply go in my again yard and I’m within the scorching solar. I feel it’s actually necessary whenever you first get up to get that vitamin D, drink some water and get going for the day.
Yours is such an inspiring journey and we want you continued success! Speaking of proper now, you might be nonetheless coaching laborious and doing these combat camps and sweating it out. After all these years and the ups and downs, do you continue to benefit from the course of?
Oh, I find it irresistible. So, martial arts is my ardour. I like competitors, I like difficult myself. Even although combating won't ever give me fulfilment, identical to the shiny stuff, it’s my ardour; studying after which additionally being of service to different individuals within the health club like youthful guys, my teammates; in the event that they want my I’m there for them. It’s a brotherhood and that’s why I find it irresistible. I don’t get sick of it. Sometimes, I get like ‘oh my gosh, I’ve acquired to coach once more’ however I’m so used to it. I like the grind.
Jared Gordon (18-5-0) faces Leonardo Santos (18-6-1) at UFC 278 on Saturday. Available to stream on ESPN+.
Follow Jared Gordon on Instagram @jaredflashgordon.