(Props: Bobby Razak via r/MMA.)
Chris Weidman and I have a lot in common. We’re both the second of three children, we’re both from New York…OK, so maybe we don’t have a lot in common, but as middle children, we’re both prone to feelings of neglect, isolation, and underappreciation from those closest to us.
They call it Middle Child Syndrome, and it ranks right up there with Restless Leg Syndrome on the list of completely made up afflictions. But where I was lucky enough to grow up with an older brother who would only kick my ass when I rightfully deserved it (Christmas, birthday, bar mitzvah, etc.), it seems that Weidman’s older brother was less a neglectful-yet-guiding figure in his upbringing and more a bitter, sociopathic sicko hell bent on ensuring his misery.
Listening to Weidman recount some of the more horrific beatings he endured at the hands of his brother — which included having a weight thrown at his head, being dropped from a tree and getting stomped by his brother’s friends on “Freshman Friday” — is sickening to say the least. Perhaps even sadder than the fact that many of these beatings ended in Weidman being hospitalized, however, was the following admission:
My brother definitely had a history of beating me up and abusing me. He was a badass dude…If he had your back, you didn’t have to worry about a thing…unfortunately for me, he didn’t have my back a lot growing up. I guess he didn’t like me that much, so he’d beat the crap out of me and made other people beat me up.
Now, I’m not going to act like it’s abnormal for brothers to quarrel, and I’m surely not about to go on some anti-bullying tirade, because quite honestly, the idea of “ending” bullying is as laughably misguided a concept as I have come across in modern society. For all the flack bullying gets for crushing the self-esteem of today’s thin-skinned, fragile youths, it also fails to get its due credit for actually forming diamonds out of coal every now and again.
Just look at Weidman, who admits in the video that the adversity he faced growing up made him who he is today: a man who is as mentally strong as he is physically. A man who fears nothing, not even a champion notorious for breaking world-renowned competitors before they could even step foot into the cage with him. Chris Weidman was baptized in fire. He crawled through a river of shit and came out clean on the other side, so to speak. If anything, he is a testament to the positive long-term effects of bullying.
But what Weidman’s older brother did to him reaches far beyond simple bullying. It violates every basic principle of what it means to be “family.” Hell, it violates every basic principle of humanity. Because while brothers are destined to physically and verbally berate one another from birth until death, they’re also supposed to have each other’s back at the end of the day. It kind of what separates family from everyone else, and to hear Weidman so casually discuss how this basic sense of trust was repeatedly violated by his own blood is as disturbing a revelation as it gets.
Of course, the question now becomes, “Has Weidman’s brother seen the err of his ways, or has his UFC champion lil’ bro been forced to do it for him?” Well…
So basically, Weidman’s brother is still a sadistic asshole, but at least he knows how to handle him now. Hooray for happy endings?