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Paddy Pimblett Opens Up On Losing His Friend To Suicide Just Hours Before UFC London

Rory O'Callaghan

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Paddy Pimblett Opens Up On Losing His Friend To Suicide Just Hours Before UFC London

Paddy Pimblett has opened up on the devastating impact of losing a close friend to suicide just hours before his fight at UFC London.

Pimblett extended his record in the UFC to 3-0 on Saturday night with a second-round submission victory over Jordan Leavitt at the O2 Arena.

In his post-fight interview, Pimblett dedicated the win to his friend Ricky who tragically took his life shortly before the event.

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The Liverpudlian was in tears as he left the octagon and he later opened up to BT Sport presenter Adam Catterall in an emotional interview backstage.

"I just had to do it, I had to stay strong for myself – just everyone around me," said Pimblett, when asked how he had managed to cope with the loss of his friend.

"Some of my mates that have come here today, they've come from my mate Ricky's house. They've been sitting with his mum and they're mentally burned out more than I am.

"I'm lucky I wasn't in Liverpool at the time because I would have a been a lot worse if you know what I mean? It would have hit me a lot harder.

"I had to focus on my fight, I had stuff to block it out. I had to make weight, as I said I found out at 4am on Friday morning. I was weighing in in five hours and I woke up and just looked at my phone and burst out crying.

"I still had to go and do another two pounds and I thought 'what am I doing here? Why am I even doing this?'

"But that's why I'm doing it. To get in there, win my fight and spread a message."

Pimblett revealed that he too had struggled with his mental health in the past and implored men to speak to others if they are having similar difficulties.

"Men have got this stigma where they think if they talk they are a weak man," added Pimblett.

"You are not weak, you are stronger than anyone. If you can go and talk to your mates and say 'lad, this is affecting me', you're stronger than anyone. I don't care what anyone says.

"People think that bottling stuff up makes things better. I've been there myself, when I lost on Cage Warriors years ago and broke my hand again.

"I thought, 'oh my god, I've turned the UFC down twice – I'm never going to get in the UFC'. For about three or four months I was waking up, crying every morning.

"If I'm being honest, if I had the bottle I probably wouldn't be here now. I would have done something drastic. You can't make a split-second decision that will end everything. You've got to think about things.

"The one thing I always say is 'you've got to get it off your chest'. That is something that I did, I eventually spoke to someone and as soon as you do that it feels like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders." 

If you've been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence, please don't suffer alone. Call Samaritans for free on their anonymous 24-hour phone line on 116 123.

Featured Image Credit: BT Sport

Topics: Paddy Pimblett, UFC, MMA

Rory O'Callaghan
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