By day, Jordan Kaaze is a trauma intensive care unit nurse in St. Paul, Minnesota. By night, she is an up-and-coming mixed martial arts fighter, who already has one fight under the prestigious Invicta FC banner.
Clearly, Kaaze already has plenty on her plate. But when the global pandemic hit the U.S. in early 2020, Kaaze thought she should be doing more.
In April, COVID-19 was spreading rapidly around New York City. It was the world’s new epicenter of the virus, and the city was in desperate need of medical supplies and personnel.
Meanwhile, in Minnesota, Kaaze’s hospital was cutting back her ICU hours to allocate resources towards fighting the virus. Her training gym, Spartan Martial Arts, also shut down because of the pandemic.
“If you don’t have a health care crisis in your community, please come help us in New York, now,” pleaded New York Governor Andrew Cuomo back in March.
Jordan Kaaze decided to do just that. She packed her bags with two of her closest work friends, quickly found job openings in New York City, and drove to the Big Apple in a rental car to help fight the pandemic on the front lines.
Friends and family of Kaaze thought she was crazy for dropping everything to go to the epicenter of the pandemic. But obviously, the word “crazy” doesn’t phase the part-time cage fighter.
“I get called crazy for my other hobbies as well,” Kaaze said in an interview with MMA Fighting. “I’m one of those people who step up when there’s a need. I was raised to lend a helping hand when people need it.”
Kaaze admitted that she was initially concerned about the “unknown” in terms of protective equipment and nursing conditions, but quickly settled into the pattern of uncertainty.
“The rules change every day, which, I’m flexible,” she explained. “Some days, we’ve got more equipment than the next, so we kind of fly by the seat of our pants and use what we’ve got.”
After eight weeks of fighting COVID-19 in New York, Kaaze returned to Minnesota in the early summer for a well-deserved break. She started exercising again, and focused on her physical and mental health.
Her break didn’t last long, though. In late July, Kaaze revealed on her Instagram that she would be headed to El Paso, Texas, to continue the fight against COVID-19.
“Didn’t think I would go again but there’s a chip on my shoulder and it felt right,” she wrote.