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Paddy Pimblett pleads for men to ‘start talking’ after friend’s suicide

The Liverpool fighter said after his win over Jordan Leavitt at UFC London: ‘Ricky, lad, that’s for you’

Andy Hampson
Sunday 24 July 2022 12:22 BST
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UFC's Paddy Pimblett uses winning speech to champion men's mental health

Liverpool lightweight Paddy Pimblett revealed he learned a friend had taken his own life ahead of his latest UFC outing on Saturday.

Pimblett went on to urge men not to suffer in silence in a heartfelt interview after his victory over American Jordan Leavitt at London’s O2 Arena.

The 27-year-old overcame the Las Vegas native with a second-round submission.

Pimblett said in his post-fight interview: “I woke up on Friday morning at 4am to a message that one of my friends back home had killed himself. This was five hours before my weigh-in. So Ricky, lad, that’s for you.

“But there is a stigma in this world that men can’t talk. 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 my 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, who has racked up three straight wins since joining the UFC, left the cage to the strains of “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, a song synonymous with his favourite football club Liverpool, with the crowd singing along.

Leavitt gave Pimblett some serious problems in the first round, but in the second the Liverpudlian’s strikes started to tell and a knee to the head dropped the American, allowing Pimblett to take his back and secure the finish.

It was the second explosive finish of a night that had its origins on Merseyside as earlier on the main card flyweight Liverpool’s Molly “Meatball” McCann pulled off a signature spinning elbow to down Hannah Goldy en route to a TKO victory.

Despite the emotion of those two wins, the evening finished on a low note as Briton Tom Aspinall suffered a serious knee injury seconds into his heavyweight clash with Curtis Blaydes.

Aspinall landed a heavy leg kick before falling back into the centre of the octagon clutching his right knee, with the American awarded the win by TKO as his opponent could not continue.

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