UFC star Paddy Pimblett picked up a third straight win by beating Jordan Leavitt in the second round, but opted to use the platform to raise awareness about suicide prevention. Pimblett, who is from Liverpool, England, chose to speak about mental health and the stigma surrounding men who don’t open up about their feelings. The 27-year-old learned that his friend had taken his own life, just hours before his weigh-in on Friday, and that was what motivated him to make the emotional appeal on national television straight after his win. “There’s a stigma in this world that men can’t talk – listen, if you’re a man and you have weight on your shoulders… please talk to someone, talk to anyone,” Pimblett said, The New York Post reported. . “Please get rid of this stigma, and men – start talking,” he added.
The rising lightweight submitted Leavitt with a rear choke before taking the mic to raise awareness about mental health among the men. “I had horrible news the other day,” Pimblett told ESPN. “Five hours before the weigh-in I woke up to find that a friend of mine had committed suicide. It’s been a tough week, to be honest. It’s been a really tough week, not just with the fight and weight loss. I had so many other things. He then dedicated his victory to his friend. “So Ricky, boy, this is for you,” he added.
Pimblett pointed out that most men tend to bottle up their emotions due to the stigma surrounding mental health and urged them to open up. “I just wish guys would talk more,” Pimblett said, before adding that openness can save lives. “You know, women talk to each other all the time if you have something. Guys no. They sit there and jam, and they end up killing themselves, and that’s something you can’t take back. Men just need to talk more. They just need to get their chests off,” he added. He also paid tribute to 4-year-old fan Baby Lee Hodgson, who tragically died of cancer last month.
Paddy Pimblett and Molly McCann have arrived at the O2 📍
Both wore shirts to support Paddy’s friend Ricky, who took his own life two days ago, and young fan, Lee, whom they befriended and who died of leukemia . pic.twitter.com/aoxfD6C6Kd
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) July 23, 2022
Pimblett said the loss of his friend cost him dearly and it showed in his performance as well. The UFC star said he always shows he belongs here and can take down anyone. “Obviously I know how good I am on any day,” Pimblett said. “I can beat anyone, anyone in the rankings. It doesn’t matter. I can beat anyone, even on a bad day like today, I got it. I still did. I still got in there and dominated it. Well, I didn’t dominate it initially, but I still think I won the first run, then I finished the second. After picking up the win, the crowd sang “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, the anthem of their favorite football club, Liverpool. Paddy Pimblett’s win was City’s second victory after Molly’s ” Meatball” Liverpool’s McCann beat Hannah Goldy.
As we reported last week, the US government has launched a new mental health crisis hotline: 988. The new Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is designed to connect people who are having thoughts suicidal or experiencing a mental health crisis with a trained mental health professional, as opposed to law enforcement officers. You can call or text 9-8-8 numbers to access mental health support. “If you are ready to turn to someone in your moment of crisis, 988 will be there,” said Xavier Becerra, secretary of the federal Ministry of Health and Human Services. “988 will not be busy and 988 will not put you on hold. You will get help.”
From someone who has lost 8 very good friends young and old over the past few years to death by suicide and nearly lost another over the course of the week, fair play to Paddy Pimblett for talking about it and showing it to how important the subject is. pic.twitter.com/CHix9PC4qP
— Paddy Hartnett 🇮🇪 (@hartnett1977) July 23, 2022
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts or needs mental health support, call or text 988 to speak to a qualified counsellor.