Wednesday 11 May 2022
LONDON: Former UFC star Paul Felder will be the star of an exclusive content series being filmed by the Professional Triathletes Organisation (PTO), that will take fans behind the scenes on the new PTO Tour as he ‘eats, sleeps and breathes triathlon’.
Paul’s next step competing as an age grouper will be this Sunday (15 May) on Venice Beach at the PTO Pro Am Herbalife Los Angeles, a mixed relay race held over the Olympic distance – 1500m swim, 40km bike and 10km run.
“We had been watching Paul’s entry into the sport with great interest, it’s such a strong storytelling opportunity when an elite athlete from another sport looks to take on the challenging world of triathlon so we reached out to explore working together,” explains PTO Head of Content, Nick Shakinovsky, who formerly worked as Director of Content EMEA for UFC.
“Finding compelling stories that entertain the world of triathlon but also appeal to, and inspire, global sports fans to watch, engage and even participate is something we’re passionate about. Paul’s an incredible character and a natural storyteller and his journey into triathlon is one we can’t wait to share.”
The first 10-minute teaser introducing Felder drops on Wednesday 11 May. Called ‘Fighting Spirit’, the episode covers reflections on his career to date; how he got into triathlon; and what he hopes to achieve in the sport.
“I look back on my UFC career and I’m happy with it. I didn’t get to where I wanted to. I wanted to become a champion. But there’s only a few guys that ever get to say they were a champ,” says Felder, who was known as ‘The Irish Dragon’ until he retired from fighting in May 2021 with a record in the Octagon of 17-6 and is now a UFC colour commentator.
“I got to number six in the world. I never quit. I’d like to think I was a bit of a fan favourite for my style and the way I brought it, I always kept true to myself. I always fought for something more than just me, but I think it was time to go. I feel like I went out leaving a little bit left.”
Inspired by Lionel
Felder cites Canadian star Lionel Sanders and his epic story as the inspiration for his new swim/bike/run obsession.
“I get really obsessed with looking at the people that are really good at something,” says Felder. “If they [the professional triathletes] can do that, what do I have to do to do that? And slowly but surely, day after day, you push a little bit more. So, for me, it’s that process. It’s never really even been about the event. It’s been about the day in and day out. I like that. I like living that lifestyle.”
“When triathlon started creeping into my life, for sure, the thing that really got me noticing the sport was my man, Lionel Sanders. Mr No Limits himself. The work outs and the numbers he was doing were incredible. The Arizona desert run where it’s 100 degrees and he absolutely murdered it. That’s cool, so I started getting into the sport. Full distance, half distance, whatever. I found triathlon through Lionel…and now want to eat, sleep and breathe it.”
Ahead of this Sunday’s PTO PRO AM 2022, Felder set out his stall to take his new-found love of the sport as far as he can.
“It’s about how good can I get within the time I’m doing it. I wanna be top of my age group. For me, being a professional athlete is about pushing myself to the limits and going a bit further each time.”
A point endorsed by his new friend and mentor, Lionel Sanders, who, as an MMA fan himself, has been quick to take Felder under his triathlon wing.
“The thing I love about Paul is that he’s approaching triathlon in the same way he embraced MMA. Full on and no holds barred,” said PTO star attraction Sanders, who’ll also be competing in LA.
“Doing a triathlon of any kind is an amazing endeavour. When you toe the start line, you can only be prepared to give it everything.”
For further information
Professional Triathletes Organisation
Jane Hansom E: [email protected] M: 00 (0) 7703 481 478
Anthony Scammell E: [email protected] M: 00 44 (0) 7714 340 525
About the Professional Triathletes Organisation
The Professional Triathletes Organisation is a not-for-profit entity consisting of both men and women professional triathletes who have come together to form a representative body which not only gives them a meaningful voice in the way the sport operates but a means to contribute to its growth for the benefit of the entire triathlon community. The PTO seeks to showcase the passion, talents, determination, struggles and achievements of its dedicated professionals through iconic events, reimagined broadcast and compelling storytelling, inspiring global sports fans to watch, engage and participate in triathlon.