Sport Paul Felder details preparation to call every bout on 'Fight Island'
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Paul Felder is going to have a strong presence on UFC broadcasts when the promotion heads to “Fight Island” for four events in July.
A UFC lightweight contender, Felder (17-5 MMA, 9-5 UFC) has made a seamless transition into the commentary booth over the past few years. He, but he admits broadcasting is taking up more and more of his time and will be a major part of his future when he retires from competition for good.
Felder’s assignments are often interchanged with the likes of Daniel Cormier, Dominick Cruz, Michael Bisping, and a few others – but not he’s on the cusp of his busiest stretch yet. With UFC hosting cards on July 11, July 15, July 18, and July 25 on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, Felder revealed he will be serving as a color commentator for all 40-plus fights alongside some combination of Bisping, Jon Anik, John Gooden, and Dan Hardy.
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“I’m calling every fight,” Felder told MMA Junkie. “I’m working the desk for every fight and calling every fight. I’m out there all three weeks. So, I’ve got a lot of work to do as well. There’s quite a lot of research when you have to call four fight cards and also talk pre and post-fight shows as well.”
Felder said the July 25 card is the least of his worries, as he’ll have one week to prepare between shows. Prior to that, though, there are three cards in seven days, including a total of four championship bouts.
The highest level fights where belts are up for grabs are, of course, which will attract the most attention from the public. However, Felder said he feels a responsibility to treat each contest with equal respect.
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Several athletes who have minimal UFC experience are slated to compete at the events. Felder said it’s imperative to tell the all stories and detail all the techniques with the same level of respect.
“That last one I will have plenty of time, but the first three I’ve got to be ready and ahead of it and start prepping the first couple now,” Felder said. “Then once the first one is done, I’ll freshen up on the second show and starting research on the third show. I’d like to get a little idea of everybody, especially the prelim guys that might slip under the radar on occasion. I want to make sure I’m on point and giving those guys their credit and really showcasing them properly.”
Not only does Felder have a heavy workload calling fights then serving as an analyst on pre and post-show content, but he also faces some very unique conditions. Due to the time difference from the U.S., the main cards for “Fight Island” shows will begin no earlier than 1 a.m. local time.
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Felder competed on the UFC’s most recent show in Abu Dhabi, which was UFC 242 in September, but the situation was different. The start time was better suited to the local market, and athletes had a greater amount of time to adjust to the climate.
There’s no envy from Felder for the fighters competing, and he’s curious to see how everyone adapts.
“I think the best thing to do is go over there and just sleep and train when you can,” Felder said. If you’re feeling tired just freaking sleep. If you want to work out just work out. I wouldn’t worry too much about, ‘I have to sleep at this time.'”MORE:
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