For a minute, it seemed Paul Felder’s Twitter account might get him into a fight outside the octagon.
If not for UFC producers, Felder said, things might have gotten heated at the fighter meetings for the event this past October.
“They were like, ‘Guys, OK, before we start, I know there’s been back and forth, we’re going to handle this like adults – you guys feel free to vent both sides of your story,’” Felder said on The MMA Hour. “Marvin gave his reasons on why he felt slighted and whatever, and I gave my reasons on why I didn’t think I did anything that was really against him, and we kind of hashed it out. And ever since, we’ve been... I don’t think he’s going to be my best friend or likes me necessarily, but I feel like there’s no real bad blood there.”
Vettori accused Felder of bias when calling a fight between his training partner, Nasrat Haqparast, and Dan Hooker at UFC 266. The Italian middleweight called the fighter-turned-commentator a “puppet.”
Felder defended himself against Vettori on Twitter, writing that he wasn’t favoring one fighter over the other and was trying to be professional. After hashing it out, he settled for a truce, partly out of respect and partly out of necessity.
“At this point, if Marvin wanted to kick my ass, let’s be honest, he probably could,” Felder said. “He’s a top middleweight right now, and I’m a very skinny former fighter who commentates and does triathlons on the side.”
Such interactions are one of the main reasons Felder doesn’t pick up his phone to check Twitter while he’s working.
“Not any more, bro,” he said. “I fell into that trap, too, early on. I’d be like, ‘Oh, we’re on a nice five-minute break, they’re playing some features, I don’t have to do to the bathroom, let me scroll through Twitter,’ and it’s just like, ‘Felder sucks! Get him off of this! He sucked as a fighter, he sucks as a commentator now!’
“The quicker you realize that it’s every single one of us... there’s always going to be somebody out there that thinks we absolutely suck, whether it’s [Daniel Cormier, Dominick Cruz, Michael Bisping,] me, Laura [Sanko], you, it doesn’t matter – somebody’s going to think we absolutely suck, and now, in today’s world, anybody, no matter who you are, no matter how bad your life is, you can go and tell somebody else that they suck. So it took me a while to realize that, and now, I truly do believe I’ve grown a thick skin.”
Felder didn’t quit Twitter entirely, of course. For all the negatives of being dragged online, there are quite a few positives – namely, dragging trolls who believe they can get away with being rude.
One of Felder’s most humorous – and viral – moments came when he challenged one of his online antagonists to repeat a written insult in person. The troll admitted he valued his own life too much.
Let it be known that if you’re a hater and you find yourself getting a response from Felder, it’s because he’s bored. “I love to rip them a new one,” he said. But when he’s working the mic, he’s only working.