Tearful Paddy Pimblett found out mate killed himself at 4am before UFC weigh-in
It was another fantastic performance by Paddy 'The Baddy' Pimblett as he won by submission against opponent Jordan Leavitt, but the fighter from Liverpool dedicated his post-fight speech to his friend who passed away.
Pimblett was his lively self as he bounced into the Octagon, and it was business as usual as he finished the fight in round two, but the UFC star used his big moment to speak out about men's mental health after his found out that his friend killed himself.
In an incredibly emotional moment, Pimblett kept his composure to deliver the most important of messages to the crowd at London's 02 Arena, and the millions watching around the world. And the fighter may have left with tears in his eyes, but he left with even more respect than when he entered the cage just 15 minutes prior.
Pimblett admitted his performance was far from his best, and even described he was "a bit s*** to be honest" to former UFC star Michael Bisping. But Pimblett asked if he could send a message following the death of his friend.
He said: "I woke up on Friday morning at 4am, to a message that one of me friends back home had killed himself. This is hours before my weigh-in. So Ricky, lad, that's for you."
Pimblett continued: "There's stigma in this world, that men can't talk," Pimblett said. "Listen, if you're a man and you've got weight on your shoulders, and you think the only way you can solve it is by killing yourself, please speak to someone, speak to anyone.
"People would rather – I know I'd rather have a mate cry on my shoulder than go to his funeral next week. So please, let's get rid of this stigma and men start talking."
Pimblett revealed that he woke up to the news at 4am just hours before his pre-fight weigh-in, and the devastation was clear to see. It may be a night of celebrations on Saturday, but it will be a different feeling next week as the funeral takes place.
The crowd delivered one of the biggest cheers of the night in response to Pimblett's message, and the awareness spread will hopefully help someone out there in need. Pimblett is known for doing a lot to help his local community in Liverpool, but this is an issue that is increasing worldwide.
It wasn't the only tragedy on the minds of both Pimblett and McCann, as they also wore shirts in tribute of four-year-old Lee-Joshua Hodgson when entering the arena. Lee passed away on June 26 after doctors found a lump on his knee, and the family later found themselves in hospital on Christmas Day where scans showed he had stage four metastatic rhabdomyosarcoma alveolar – an extremely rare cancer that forms in soft tissue.
Speaking to BT Sport in the build-up to his fight Pimblett said: "I went to his funeral the other week. It was hard. Very hard. You shouldn't ever have to go to a four-year-old's funeral. It's something no-one should ever have to do. Especially his mum and dad.
"I stood with Molly, and my missus, crying my eyes out. I'm going to do this fight for him. Seeing that little man smile when I won that last fight, and at the weigh-in last time, it made it all worth it. I know he's going to be looking down. The little angel he is. I know he's going to be in there with me."
If you need to talk to anyone, please contact Samaritans. They won't judge you or tell you what to do, they'll listen to you.
Samaritans charity – call: 116 123
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