Hey bullies, beware. That kid you beat up, intimidated or harassed, might grow up to be a UFC world champion.
Chris Weidman, the man who dethroned pound-for-pound great Anderson Silva to become the UFC middleweight champion in July, admitted in a recent interview that he was bullied as a kid.
“I grew up in a decently tough neighborhood,” Weidman told Bobby Razak for this Verite series. “I grew up getting bullied and fighting a lot. My brother was probably one of the toughest kids from my neighborhood and he didn’t make it easy on me. He made sure I was getting beat up as much as possible growing up. If he wasn’t beating me up, he was making his friends beat me up. He threw a 10 pound weight on my head because I wouldn’t get him a cookie. Split my forehead open pretty good.”
According to Martial Arts For Peace, one out of four kids has been bullied in school and 77 percent of students are bullied mentally, physically or verbally. According to stopbullying.gov, here are some tips for adults who observe bullying:
- Intervene immediately. It is ok to get another adult to help.
- Separate the kids involved.
- Make sure everyone is safe.
- Meet any immediate medical or mental health needs.
- Stay calm. Reassure the kids involved, including bystanders.
- Model respectful behavior when you intervene.
Avoid these common mistakes:
- Don’t ignore it. Don’t think kids can work it out without adult help.
- Don’t immediately try to sort out the facts.
- Don’t force other kids to say publicly what they saw.
- Don’t question the children involved in front of other kids.
- Don’t talk to the kids involved together, only separately.
- Don’t make the kids involved apologize or patch up relations on the spot.
Weidman said the bullying made him stronger.
“I think any type of setback you have, any tough time you’ve got, getting through it is what makes you who you are. It makes you a tougher person. I think whatever you’ve been through in your life makes you a tougher person. I’m very grateful for the background I have, every tough situation I’ve been through because it’s made me who I am.”
Stopbullying.gov also states when an adult should call law enforcement:
- A weapon is involved.
- There are threats of serious physical injury.
- There are threats of hate-motivated violence, such as racism or homophobia.
- There is serious bodily harm.
- There is sexual abuse.
- Anyone is accused of an illegal act, such as robbery or extortion—using force to get money, property, or services.