This weekend the UFC returns to New York City and the world famous Madison Square Garden.
Now for some fighters this is purely a chance to showcase their skills on the biggest stage. But for NYC native Jared Gordon, it is so much more than that. Because just under 8 years ago, Jared’s life was a lot different than what it looks like today. Because Jared was a heroin addict.
This story is to much for me to tell in simply one article. Jared’s story is almost so unreal, that people would maybe laugh and say that is simply not possible. Jared was sexually abused by a camp councilor at a young age, and as he grew up he became more involved with using drink & drugs. At around age 19 Jared started using prescription pain killers such as OxyContin for pain management, but sadly like many others this was just a gateway to drug addiction and by 21 years old Jared was a full blown heroin addict.
At 23 he found himself homeless and living on the streets, begging and panhandling for money to support his drug addiction. This journey of addiction continued until 2015. Jared did have stints of sobriety during the years leading up to 2015, but as he will probably tell you, he wasn’t ready to stop. Always thinking he had 1 more “run” in him. But one December night in 2015, he’d finally had enough. Following his 3rd overdose, Jared was legally dead and if not for the paramedics might not be stepping into the cage on Saturday night. A few days following that Jared came out of hospital, shot up for the last time, and checked himself into rehab. Since then Jared has been completely clean and sober.
In Jared’s words “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.”
Jared now uses his platform as a UFC athlete to help others suffering from the disease of addiction. Which I can personally be grateful for. As he has, and continues to help me in my own journey in sobriety. Jared is always willing to help others, he will regularly let people know his DM’s are open, and that if you are struggling with addiction to contact him.
You can find him on Twitter @JFlashGordonMMA & on Instagram @jaredflashgordon.
Now if you wondering why this article is called “Above the below”? Well its simple. Below Madison Square Garden is Penn Station. Somewhere Jared used to go to shoot heroin. Who would of thought that one day he would walk into MSG, above Penn Station, as a UFC athlete to compete at the highest level of mixed martial arts. Well that day has come, and on Saturday November 11th 2023, Jared Gordon not only makes the walk to a fight, but to a miraculous continuing comeback story.
Or as he told me just a few weeks ago “Its a home coming. Just a small part of my destiny”.
Your 1 inspirational dude Jared.