At UFC 226, Paul Felder would suffer a loss to Mike Perry via split decision, but would earn quite the moral victory by gutting out three rounds with a broken arm and even getting the nod on one judge’s scorecard. Appearing on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show Monday, Paul Felder put his analyst hat back on and gave a detailed account of what exactly took place and when in regards to the sustained injury:
“First round, I threw a spinning back fist, landed on the top of his head and broke it,” Felder told Helwani. “And right in between rounds, I noticed I couldn’t make a fist all the way, and I could feel shifting and crunching in my forearm the whole time.
“I couldn’t make a full fist and I couldn’t grip anything with it. I couldn’t fight hands or really grab a hold of Mike when I was trying to clinch him. And I was afraid to throw elbows with it. It was definitely the most chaotic, crazy MMA experience I’ve ever had.”
Like all sports fans, the MMA community is no different when it comes to its aversion to excuses. But if ever there was an exception, fighting the majority of a fight with a broken arm should fit the bill for most fans as an acceptable one. But even though he has a perfectly valid excuse at his disposal, Felder gives credit to Perry for earning the victory and has no problem with the judges’ decision:
“I take nothing away from Perry,” Felder said. “I’ve watched that fight, and I think it’s fair that it went to him. I would have done more if my right hand was feeling better. I would have thrown a lot more two’s and had better defense, but I think it’s a fair decision.”
Felder also believes that the loss had nothing to do with the move up to welterweight and was quick to nip that narrative in the bud:
“I don’t think (weight) was the issue. I honestly think the only thing that really set me back big time was my arm got hurt, we headbutted each other right off the bat, so I got a gash in my hairline. Then, he got me with that good left hook and split me open really bad. So yeah, it was just a lot of little circumstances that just happens in fights. I don’t think any of them had to do with being at welterweight.”
As for whether or not he will fight at welterweight again or return to lightweight, Felder is currently undecided, but seems to be leaning heavily towards returning to welterweight for the remainder of his career:
“I haven’t yet (decided on staying at welterweight or not).
“We’ll see what my weight does, too. I’m already back in the 90s right now. I was 193 this morning. Where is that gonna go with inactivity? I might get close to 200 pounds. Or I might lose weight because I’m not lifting as much, so we’ll see.
“I’ve had different coaches think different things. My mom, first of all, doesn’t even want me to think about going back to 155. And most of my friends agree, ‘Man, you’re a lot more pleasant…you’re returning phone calls a lot better when you’re eating and fighting at 170.’
“I don’t know, man. That’s a good question. Why would you want to go through that? I’m 34, man. I’m not getting younger in this sport. It’s definitely something I’m going back and forth on. I really do want to just ride out my career slugging it out and seeing where I go at 170, having great training camps, not killing myself, and then putting on performances like that.
“I mean, imagine how much better that fight is if I don’t break my arm. Even if I don’t win, imagine how much more exciting that fight could have been if I’m not dealing with a broken bone. I feel like, at welterweight, there are quite a few matchups like that, where I can just, ‘Let’s collect bonus money,” which we should have gotten for that one. Holy crap. That was disappointing.”
Would you rather see Paul Felder remain at Welterweight or return to the lightweight?