Sports After once hitting bottom as a junkie, Jared Gordon has risen to a shot at CFFC title Jared Gordon is a featherweight MMA fighter who grew up in Roslyn Heights and later in Astoria. Photo Credit: CFFC / Manny Fernandes By MARK LA MONICA / NEWSDAY firstname.lastname@example.org @LaMonicaMark May 8, 2015 1:52 PM Print Share fbShare Tweet Email As of Tuesday afternoon, Jared Gordon needed to lose 16 pounds by Friday afternoon or there would be less money in his paycheck. A terrifying physical and mathematical scenario for some. Not for Gordon, who has had to deal with much worse in his 26 years. Such equations are standard for a professional mixed martial arts fighter. Also, he's been dead before. "That's actually what I compare everything to," said Gordon, who grew up in Roslyn Heights, then moved to Astoria after his freshman year of high school. "Well, this is not as bad as what I've been through, so suck it up." Gordon put himself through this week's weight cut for a shot at the vacant Cage Fury FC featherweight title. Gordon (5-0) fights Jeff Lentz at CFFC 48 on Saturday in Atlantic City. That he even has a career to develop -- let alone a life to live -- makes losing weight seem like a small challenge. Gordon said he has been addicted to, at various points in his life, cocaine, heroin, opiates and painkillers. He overdosed more than once, he said. In September of 2011, he was arrested and charged with robbery home invasion and felony battery in Florida and spent three weeks in a holding cell in lieu of $150,000 bail. The charges eventually were dropped. After finally being bailed out by his parents, Gordon said, he overdosed in the parking lot of the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida. A friend called an ambulance to pick him up. "I was dead for two minutes," Gordon said. Gordon said when he woke up in the hospital, he couldn't move the right side of his body. And when he regained movement? "I ripped the IVs out and went back to shooting dope that night," he said. Eventually, Gordon returned to Queens, where he said he relapsed again. The number of rehab attempts began to outnumber the amount of fights he had. Then came Thanksgiving in 2011. Homeless -- banned from his parents' home -- and sleeping in a park, Gordon said he begged for money on the street. "I was looking down at my arms and they were swollen from all the needles I was shoving in them," Gordon said. "I was dead broke. That was the real bottom for me." Six years earlier, he was the guy who was drawn to the UFC as it was ascending. The guy who walked into Rhino Fight Team in Long Island City to learn jiujitsu and boxing. Now Gordon was a 23-year-old junkie with little hope. "The only way to make him hit bottom quicker without him killing himself was to kick him out of the house," said his mother, Stephanie. "You know the outcome pretty much, and if you don't do something to help that outcome turn out differently -- it had to be done. It was the hardest thing to do." That is when Gordon sought help. It was time to get clean and, hopefully, stay clean. Gordon went to Samaritan Village in Jamaica, a substance-abuse treatment center. He then was sent to their facility in Ellenville, New York. Rehab lasted six months. "Mentally, you're sitting there contemplating should I leave, should I stay, should I go, what should I do?" Gordon said. "You just need to come to a point where you want to do it for yourself. You can't do it for anybody else." Gordon says he has been drug-free for more than three years. In 2013, Gordon competed on an MMA reality show in Mexico called "Duelo de Gigantes" (Duel of the Giants), similar to the UFC's "The Ultimate Fighter." Gordon won all four of his fights and earned a $100,000 payday. He got the belt and the oversized check in the cage. The actual check, Gordon said, never was sent his way. And those four fights are not on his official pro fight record. That list remains at five. All victories. He's a few hours away from his title shot. Closer than he's ever been before to athletic glory, Gordon brings a perspective not many of his opponents can comprehend. Plenty of other people can, though, a point Gordon understands. "My story isn't unique at all," Gordon said. "There's a million billion junkies out there that have the same story as me and way worse than me. I don't think that defines me as a person. "What will define me is what I decide to do now and in the future to make me a better person every day and what I can do for other people." By MARK LA MONICA / NEWSDAY email@example.com @LaMonicaMark Mark La Monica is the deputy sports editor for cross-media at Newsday. He also covers mixed martial arts. Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Comments We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.