Paul Felder is far from finished with his fighting career but that’s not what his mom thought just recently.
The 33-year old UFC lightweight has been very active inside the Octagon but he also found a new opportunity lately by doing some color commentary work for Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series.
Felder did such a good job that he also got the chance to call a few fights alongside Jon Anik and former bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz at the UFC Fight Night event in Pittsburgh. Now this weekend, Felder will join the analyst desk at FOX where he will break down the fights alongside welterweight champion Tyron Woodley and retired UFC fighter Kenny Florian for UFC 216 from Las Vegas.
Felder has been staying so busy with his work outside the cage that his mom actually believed that was going to be the end of him fighting inside the Octagon.
“The funny thing is my mom when I got these opportunities, she was like ‘you’re done, right?’,” Felder said with a laugh when speaking to MMAWeekly. “This is just getting me started so when I’m done fighting, I have something to do but my mom was like ‘oh you don’t have to fight anymore!’.
“I’m still young, I’m in my prime and I’m on a two fight win streak.”
All jokes aside, Felder is really enjoying his new career helping to call fights behind the microphone, which could certainly be something he carries on after his mixed martial arts career is finished.
While he’s always had interest in doing color commentary and analyst work, it was a chance conversation Felder had with UFC play-by-play man Jon Anik in Brazil that landed him an audition for the Tuesday Night Contender series.
“I went to school for theater, I was an acting major in college, I’ve done a lot of stuff in front of the camera so it was always something I wanted to find a way to do,” Felder said. “I always wanted to go back into that kind of field somehow.”
The audition process went well and soon enough Felder was getting his chance to call the fights at “The Ultimate Fighter” gym in Las Vegas where he witnessed some of the best up and coming talent trying to earn their way into the UFC. From there, Felder was given the opportunity to call even bigger fights live in Pittsburgh but first he had to get hazed into his position thanks to Cruz, who couldn’t help but give him a hard time when he first arrived.
“Dominick Cruz was messing with me the whole time,” Felder revealed. “He kept looking over at me before we started and he’d say ‘are you nervous…are you scared?’ and I really wasn’t but then I was like s–t, should I be? Should I be nervous? He was just messing with the new guy.
“Since I got that early on, we had a good chemistry and we really got along. I always got along with Jon Anik. I was just excited to sit down and watch some fights with these guys.”
Now this weekend, Felder will serve as an in studio analyst for the first time where his job will revolve around breaking down the fights, making picks and predictions as well as interviewing some of the competitors after the card is finished.
Like his prior commentating gigs, Felder has been studying in preparation for his debut and he knows the job will be tough but it’s nothing he’s not ready to tackle. Perhaps one of the toughest parts of his new job will be making those predictions that the analysts are required to give during the broadcast but Felder is confident that he’ll give his brutally honest opinion.
And if anyone has a problem with what he says, Felder is happy to settle it with them after he takes off the suit and tie and puts down the microphone.
“It’s going to be interesting. This weekend we’re going to be going around the desk picking fights and I know some of the people on the card. Sometimes you’re going to have to pick against them. That’s the name of the game,” Felder said. “It will be tougher when it’s somebody I’m really close to like I train with Anthony Pettis so any of those guys, if I had to pick against those guys, that might get me into some trouble.
“As far as guys in my division, what are they going to do get mad at me? Well we can fight. That’s the solution.”
In all seriousness, Felder is excited for this latest opportunity while he’s awaiting word on his next fight.
Being seen on television all weekend long might be the best side effect of his new job because Felder knows that MMA is a sport built on what have you done for me lately so this gives him a chance to stay in the spotlight without getting punched in the face.
“It keeps me present in people’s minds without having to fight right now,” Felder said. “I’m waiting for a fight and hopefully something happens soon, but in MMA a lot of times, when there’s the next knockout people forget about your knockout. Like people have already forgotten about my last fight.
“They’re not going to forget who I am because they are going to see me on TV.”