SYRACUSE, NY (WSYR-TV) – Paddy Pimblett secured his third straight win at UFC London on July 23, and he took the opportunity to share an important message.
During his post-fight interview, Pimblett said before the weigh-in for the fight the day before, he learned he had lost a friend to suicide.
“There’s a stigma in this world that men can’t talk,” he said. “Listen, if you’re a man and you’ve got a weight on your shoulders and you think the only way to get rid of it is to kill yourself, please talk to someone. Talk to anyone… I know I’d rather cry on my friend’s shoulder than go to his funeral next week. So please, let’s get rid of this stigma and men, start talking.”
Pimblett’s words resonated with people around the world, even mental health professionals. Tracey Marchese, a professor at Syracuse University’s School of Social Work, was not only moved by his speech, but she wholeheartedly agreed.
“Depression and suicide are some of the leading causes of death in men,” she said. “And even people who commit suicide, the rate is about four times higher in men than in women.”
Marchese says this is largely due to the fact that our culture has a specific idea of how men are “supposed” to act.
“I want to think of the phrase ‘man up,'” she said. “Men are basically, and I don’t want to stereotype and say that all men are treated this way, but if we look at the overall picture in society, this is what we see. It is weakness to show that you have signs of mental illness or that you are not coping well.”
She says that when it comes to seeking help, whether through medication or simply talking about it as Pimblett mentioned, it should be viewed the same way you view treatment for any other illness.
“Wouldn’t you take diabetes medicine? You wouldn’t take insulin?” she asked.
“So to think that depression is seen differently, as if you’re somehow causing it or you’re weak because you can’t deal with your problems, is absurd.”
She said seeing a prominent figure in the sport like Pimblett speak out was incredible and the reaction he got to say it was even better.
“I heard the crowd cheering for him when he said it,” she said. “That’s the other part that was so important. It’s not like he was just saying it and doing it up there. He was in a crowd of people and the things he was talking about were not just about him. It was about what he was saying.”