Benson Henderson is an American mixed martial artist who competes for the Ultimate Fighting Championship, and is a former UFC Lightweight Champion and WEC Lightweight Champion. As of January 27, 2014, he is the #1 contender in the UFC lightweight division and ranked as the #2 lightweight the in the world according Sherdog and by numerous other publications.
Henderson was sometimes bullied on the schoolyard during his younger years, and with the epidemic of bullying making headlines across the nation, “Smooth” decided it was time to share his message with a few elementary school students in his adopted hometown of Glendale, Ariz.
“We went to the Harold W. Smith Elementary School and just talked to some of the kids about bullying,” Henderson told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). “It’s been a pretty big deal in the news lately – a lot of big stories of kids getting bullied and whatnot. We thought it would be good to just go and talk to the kids about bullying – how to stop it, how to be aware of it and end it early.”
“I had my moments when I was in elementary and high school,” Henderson said. “It doesn’t happen a whole lot now, but it affects you. It’s a very big deal. It can have a very lasting impression.”
But Henderson wasn’t alone. The WEC champ said he was shocked by the number of children who also said they had been targeted by bullies.
“We asked that question in front of a cafeteria full of kids, and literally every single kid raised their hand that they have been bullied before in the past,” Henderson said. “It was definitely surprising. I expected a fair amount of kids to raise their hand, but literally every single kid raised their hand. It was very surprising, and really very sad to see.
“I had my handful of experiences. It doesn’t feel good. Nobody likes that.”
Unfortunately, Henderson believes bullying – both physical and otherwise – is growing worse by the day.
“For whatever reason, it’s been getting a lot worse lately,” Henderson said. “I think our culture is allowing it to be more condoned to bully kids verbally or through other means, like online on people’s Facebook or MySpace page.
“I think it’s always good to talk about it and let people know that bullying is not OK, and that there are a lot of forms of bullying.”
While Henderson’s job, of course, requires him to punch people in the face, “Smooth” wants kids to know there is a difference between competition and everyday life. Henderson says he tries to set a proper example both in and out of the cage.
“I definitely take a lot of pride in my respect and how I conduct myself in the gym, out of the gym, in the cage, out of the cage – how I talk, how I walk,” Henderson said. “I know I can be a role model, and I have high school kids emailing me and telling me how they like me as a fighter but also how I handle myself outside of the cage.
“There are a lot of eyes on you, and I take pride in the fact that I do my best. I’m not perfect, by any means. We all fall short of the glory of God, but I do my best. I try to live up to that role model status.”
Proof of Story
No proof images submitted yet.
No proof audio submitted yet.
No proof video submitted yet.
Posted By: Uplifter |
3/24/14 11:29 AM
I think so many adults now feel the need to talk to bullied kids because there was nothing like that going on when they were younger. We can change the landscape of bullying forever if we all work together.