London — Paddy Pimblett makes his second trip to the octagon at UFC London, going up against Rodrigo “Kazula” Vargas. Who opined during Wednesday’s media day that Paddy “the Baddy” is a “bit of a kid,” and is “probably overrated.”
Later in the day, Pimblett (17-3) gave his response.
“Every opponent’s going to say something like that, he’s got to try and make himself feel good about something,” Pimblett suggested. “He knows I’m better than him where ever the fight goes. It doesn’t matter if we’re wrestling, doing jiu-jitsu, or striking. I’m better than him where ever the fight goes. All he’s got in this fight is a puncher’s chance.”
Pimblett, who rose to prominence in U.K. promotion Cage Warriors long before he landed in the UFC, has been a headline making machine throughout his fighting career. He’s also been a lightning rod for controversy. Case in point: getting into an altercation with Ilia Topuria at the fighter hotel this week.
“Who’s that? Oh, Hand Sanitizer Boy? That who you mean? That’s his name from now on lad, don’t refer to him as his name, his name’s Hand Sanitizer, because it got bounced off his head,” Pimblett quipped when one reporter brought up the altercation.
“I don’t concern myself with none of that. He wanted to come at me and try and act hard, and he got put in his place,” Pimblett continued. “I stood there on my own, and there was about six of them, and he done nothing. If he wanted to do something, he would have come around the table and started to have a fight with me, but he didn’t, he stood on the other side of the table, because he knows what’s good for him.”
Topuria was apparently irked at comments the English fighter had previously made about Georgians on social media. It’s not the first time social media use has got Pimblett in trouble — but at the same time, he sees hypocrisy in how Instagram and Facebook, run by Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta, do business.
“I’ve got to be a lot smarter on my social media, because as you know, I’ve had two accounts took off me now, and the second account had 120,000 followers,” Pimblett stated. “I’ve lost out on so much money and sponsorships over the past two weeks, three weeks. Instagram are proper messing with my livelihood, messing with the charity work I do, messing with the mental health charities and people I speak to.”
That’s a big concern for Pimblett, who went on to add that “I don’t know if some of them people are still here to this day, because I chat with them on a daily basis, and now I can’t because Instagram shut that account down. I’m a big advocate for, if you make a social media account, you should have to register an ID, or credit card, or something along them lines so you can’t just bully and harass people. Because I’ve had my account took off me for ‘bullying and harassment,’ when it’s me who gets bullied and harassed, I just defend myself.”
“I don’t even care that people say stuff about me, say stuff about me all you want, but not about a three year old child that’s fighting for his life. I can’t sit there and let someone talk about that.”
Pimblett later revealed that he’d been supporting a number of followers on social media, who were struggling with their mental health. “I have a pain on my shoulders, thinking, I can’t message them back today, are they still going to be here? If they’re not, it’s Instagram’s fault, because I’d still be speaking to them every day, but I can’t, and then obviously they’re messing with my livelihood, I’m losing out on thousands and thousands of pounds. It’s just one of those things though. They can do whatever they want. Mark Zuckerberg’s the biggest bully on the planet.”
Case in point, the child whose defense Pimblett came to when social media users began belittling his appearance, after the star posted photos of the pair together. In the end, Pimblett had his account deleted, while those targeting the boy remained. Nor did Instagram bother reaching out to him over the incident.
“They [Instagram] don’t give a f*ck. They message you back saying ‘you’ve had your account took for bullying and harassment, you’ve had so many violations.’ Well show me all the violations then,” Pimblett demanded. “I want to see every violation. But yet every violation is defending myself, and if you look at it with context, every one of them I have a reason to do it. I don’t just go out of my way to say stuff about people. I don’t need to.”
“On my page, the last few times I’ve had reports of violations, it’s when I took a young lad to a match, and people started talking about his appearance. It’s a lad that had never been to a performance before, and his dad had just died, so I wanted to do something nice for him,” continued Pimblett. “So people started commenting disgusting things about him, so I had a back-and-forth with them. And then the last one was for little baby Lee, who you’re going to see on Friday, I’m going to bring him out to the weigh-in with me. He’s got brain tumor, cancer, he’s got all sorts of things wrong with him. He’s three years old, he’s got no hair because of all the chemotherapy. Some absolute disgusting piece of sh*t commented something horrible about him.”
That was the line for Pimblett. “I’ve got morals, I’m a human, I can’t just sit there. But what I did at first, because everyone at the UFC told me to, I reported the comment, and I got a notification back twenty minutes later, ‘this comment does not go against our community guidelines, so we will not remove it.’ So then I called him a piece of sh*t, I said ‘you d*rty piece of shit, you’re a piece of vermin on my shoe,’ and the next day my account was disabled. The hypocritical nature of Instagram and Facebook is just disgusting, and what they get away with. It kills me. Mark Zuckerburg’s a lizard.”
Facebook did not reply to a request for comment on this story.
Watch the full UFC London media day scrum with Paddy Pimblett above. More coverage from the event can be found below. Pimblett faces Rodrigo Vargas at the Fight Night card this Saturday, March 19, 2022 at the O2 Arena in London, England.