UFC's Paddy Pimblett uses winning speech to champion men's mental health

Paddy Pimblett has encouraged more men to seek help for their mental health, after speaking out following his latest fight.

The UFC star delivered a heartbreaking speech as he won at London’s O2 Arena against Jordan Leavitt, reflecting on men’s mental health.

He told the crowd that he’d woken up to the news that one of his friends, Ricky, had taken his own life, and encouraged others to talk.

“People would rather, I know I’d rather, have their mate cry on their shoulder than go to their funeral,” he said. “So please, let’s get rid of this stigma and men start talking.”

Sign up to our free Indy100 weekly newsletter

Now, a mental health advisor has revealed that there has been a surge in men coming forward to seek help.

The facilitator of Andy's Man Club, which is a men's mental health group in West Yorkshire, said that the comments from Pimblett have caused more people to come forward – with many attending for the first time.

The UFC star urged men to seek help with their mental healthJulian Finney/Getty Images

Andy Wilson told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “Across both of the Leeds and Castleford groups we have 69 (10 new) and 39 (9 new) who attended respectively. It just shows how much the groups are needed and how more and more men are talking if they're struggling,"

"The interview with Paddy Pimblett following his fight at the weekend can only have helped raise awareness on how important is for people to open up and talk if they're struggling with anything and a reminder once again that it's okay to talk."

Mental health consultant Pete White also spoke about Pimblett's speech and called it a "brilliant example of pattern interrupt".

"People were expecting Paddy to give the usual post-fight victory speech, but he delivered an incredibly powerful and vulnerable message about mental health," he told the publication.

"This, along with a professional fighter, someone we often view as 'tough' and not concerned with mental health concerns, made people sit up and listen. We need more people doing this from all parts of society - vulnerability empowers."

If you are experiencing feelings of distress and isolation, or are struggling to cope, The Samaritans offer support; you can speak to someone for free over the phone, in confidence, on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email jo@samaritans.org, or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch.

Have your say in our news democracy. Click the upvote icon at the top of the page to help raise this article through the indy100 rankings.
Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)