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Shocking 10 Most Famous MMA Fighters Who Were Bullied

Bullied UFC champion Israel Adesanya celebrates his win.

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It may not seem to make sense to some, but many of the best-known MMA fighters in the world at one time or another were the victim of bullying. Hard to believe right? So the question then arises as to who amongst these famous MMA fighters was bullied?

The list of MMA fighters who were bullied includes UFC champions such as Israel Adesanya, Georges St Pierre, Daniel Cormier, Conor McGregor and even Ronda Rousey. While there are more, these are amongst the biggest names in the sport.

But all of these combat sports athletes had to start out somewhere. And while we may think of them as being these super tough individuals who shouldn’t be messed with. Many of the greatest fighters in the sport have at one time or another very surprisingly been the victim of bullying.

And many take up combat sports as a way to both help protect themselves and escape the reality of their bullying. Their stories of going from being a victim to the winner are inspirational, to say the least.

So let us take a walk-through and hear from some of the best-known fighters in the world. As they discuss their own experiences. And how they were able to overcome their own situation to become one of the best in the world at what they do.

Israel Adesanya UFC Middleweight Champion

UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya may not be the first name that pops into your head when thinking about bullying. However, the Nigeria-born kickboxer turned MMA fighter was indeed bullied a lot when he first arrived in New Zealand.

The only black student in the school was dominated by indigenous Polynesians. Adesanya got into lots of fights and puts much of the success we see today. Down to the incidents that happened when he was a new arrival in New Zealand.

The world champion commented when being interviewed on the AM show saying;

“They’ve seen me now,” he said. “I keep some of them on my Facebook, so they can see how I’m shining.

“In my head, I look at my bullies. I still see them as bigger than me, but when I go back to Rotorua I’m like, ‘I was scared of you’?”

Israel Adesanya on the AM show

Going from a young man who suffered, to a champion of the world. Just goes to show what can be achieved later in life.

Light Heavyweight Daniel Cormier

Hard to believe, but one of the baddest men on the planet. None other than DC, Daniel Cormier was badly bullied as a kid. The two-division UFC champion suffered bullying throughout the second to fourth-grade period at school.

In a candid interview with Highly Questionable, he spoke about how the bully in question had basically controlled his life for a number of years. However, DC would change all that when he took up the sport of wrestling and began to fight back.

But even after becoming an MMA champion, the bully still attempted to impose his will on him. Calling the telephone at his mother’s house when he was back visiting Lafayette, Louisiana. Cormier told him it was no longer 1985 and asked if he knew he now fought professionally for a living.

The bully asked him to wait at his mom’s home, so he could call by. DC says he wishes he would have waited to kick his ass, but probably be better he didn’t.

Welterweight Kingpin Georges St Pierre

The former two-division UFC champion George St Pierre. Is regarded by many as perhaps the greatest MMA fighter of all time. With a record in the welterweight division that was second to none and then later being also crowned the UFC middleweight champion.

GSP is one of those fighters that almost all look up to around the world. But before he ever took up the sport of mixed martial arts. There was another side to his life that included fighting, but with him on the receiving end of the beatings.

As Georges would regularly get beat up and humiliated by a much older and stronger guy on the bus home from school. And it was something he carried with him all his life, until one day many years later when he ran into his bully on the streets of Montreal.

In his appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience, he tells a fascinating story of what happened next:

Georges St Pierre open up about being bullied and meeting his bully years later

Junior Dos Santos A Bullied Heavyweight

When it comes to someone being the victim of bullying. It’s almost a dead cert that the former UFC heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos would not be the first person to spring to mind. The native of Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, says that he was never a good fighter when he was growing up.

The victim of three severe attacks in which he got beat up. Dos Santos remembers the incidents vividly, perhaps because one of the main perpetrators still lives in his neighbourhood.

“I still see him. He’s like this,” (said dos Santos, holding his hand low on his chest.)

Junior Dos Santos

And while the pair today have a friendly relationship. It’s a time in Junior’s life he will never forget. But he won’t be facing off against his bully anytime soon, as it really wouldn’t go too well, for the bully that is.

Irelands Conor McGregor On Bullying

The two-division UFC featherweight and lightweight champion. Conor McGregor is known around the world as perhaps the sport’s most confident fighter. Yet, as a young man growing up in his home city of Dublin Ireland, McGregor was a regular victim of bullying.

Conor admitted that it got so bad he would often walk around the street carrying a dumbbell in his backpack. Ready to smash it over the head of the next person who tried to mess with him.

Added that his journey into combat sports was not because he wanted to become an all-Ireland or world champion. But rather a result of him simply wanting to defend himself.

Hard to believe that one of the greatest fighters of all time simply fell into the sport out of pure chance. A reason you might be surprised to find out is quite common for many well-known fighters around the world.

Former LHW Champ Tito Ortiz

At one time former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz was the most feared fighter in the sport. Known as one of the originators of the ground and pound style. Few realize that the Huntington beach bad boy was in fact bullied as a kid.

Tito says that the bullying was one of the main reasons he became involved in the sport of wrestling at which he excelled. And being a training partner of pioneer Tank Abbott, he decided to try his own hand at fighting in the UFC. Initially for free, so that he would not lose his college scholarship.

Today he prides himself on the fact that many of his wrestling students use their skills to help protect themselves and others. As he works on what he sees as an epidemic of bullying in today’s schools. Saying;

“My kids wrestle, they all wrestle…it helps with their confidence and they actually help the kids that do get bullied. They’re little guardians.”

Tito Ortiz

UFC Middleweight Anderson Silva

Perhaps the greatest fighter the sport of MMA has known. Growing up in Curitiba Brazil, the Former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva was bullied regularly. Saying his high-pitched voice, along with his aunt sent him to ballet and tap dancing classes, which did not help the situation.

Former middleweight champion the great Anderson Silva was also bullied as a child.
Anderson Silva was bullied as a child.

Sounds like a combination that would if anything attract bullies to pick on the young man. However, it was this combination of what he learned in those dance studios. Along with having been bullied that would lead him into the world of combat sports.

“It wasn’t very cool. My friends would all go like, ‘ah, little girl, little lady.’ And add that to my high-pitched voice—I was bullied a lot.”

Anderson Silva Fightland interview

Training in multiple disciplines including Boxing, Muay Thai and of course MMA. Silva became known as one of the best strikers in the world and puts much of his success into his early childhood. With outstanding footwork to complement his undeniable skills. He is widely regarded as one of the sports true icons.

Strawweight Paige VanZant Too

At one time Paige VanZant was the pinup female fighter in the UFC. And coming within striking distance of a world title shot was always threatening in the top ten of the sport. But there is more to her story than meets the eye.

As a young girl, Paige was badly bullied, having trash thrown in her face and was physically accosted so badly that she had to move hometowns. In her book, Paige also opened up about being raped by a group of guys. Rumours at school were being spread that it was consensual. And an incident that led her to feel suicidal.

But a visit to the gym where her father trained was a turning point in her life. Where she finally decided to turn things around and fight back. Going from victim to one of the most well-known female MMA fighters in the world. Paige’s story is one of overcoming the odds and turning her life around.

Chris Weidman On His Childhood

The guy who beat the guy, Chris Weidman was party to one of the biggest upsets in MMA history. When at UFC 162, beating the champion Anderson Silva the middleweight fighter brought an end to one of the greatest titles runs the sport has known.

Weidman instantly became a household name, going on the defeat Silva again in their second fight. But behind it all lies an early life where Chris was regularly bullied, even by his own brother. And in one instance his sibling brought people to his house to beat him up on Freshman Friday.

“I was severely bullied, I didn’t really even think of it as bullying you know. Even up until maybe a year or two ago when I did gave an anti-bullying speech and I realized holy crap I was really badly bullied.”

UFC champion Chris Weidman

Chris went on to talk about how bullying is not just about the physical abuse that kids receive. But also the psychological trauma they have to endure as a direct result. Today he is involved in anti-bullying projects in his community in Long Island New York.

Bantamweight Queen Ronda Rousey

At one time UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey was regarded as the baddest woman on the planet. Regularly submitted her opponents inside the very first round of their fight. Rousey was seen as a phenom in the sport and a role model for many women and girls.

“I think it it’s just if you’re different and if there’s things about you that people don’t understand people fear what they understand and they bully what they fear.”

Ronda Rousey

But Ronda too was a victim of bullying in middle school. At around the same time, as she took up Judo, she began to get comments about the change in her physical appearance. Gaining significant muscle, fellow students began by calling her name like Miss man.

Ronda Rousey explains how after being bullied Judo changed her life.

Adding to that the fact that she later began to develop cauliflower ear. Ronda found that Judo was her way of escaping from those who would try to bring her down. Finding comfort in a community of people who found similar enjoyment in the sport.

She went on to say that things will get better as you get older. As with age comes the luxury of being able to pick and choose who you spend your time with. Additionally, that Judo gave her an alter ego like Peter Parker, helping her to get away from those who sought to drag her down.

For more information please go to Anti-bullying USA