Tyron is a professional mixed martial artist for Strikeforce. He is currently undefeated and a strong contender for the welterweight title. Tyron kindly took the time to talk with us about his views on bullying, and he had some very valuable advice to share as well.
TYRON: I was a troubled kid growing up. I thought it was funny to get suspended, make fun of others, and be a class clown. I got suspended for 90 days in junior high and I changed my life after that.
HIBHUB: What was your school like (size, public / private, etc)?
TYRON: My school was pretty big. We had over 2000 kids there and we graduated 500. It was a public school, and there was a mixed group of ethnic groups represented.
I thought it was funny to get suspended, make fun of others, and be a class clown.
HIBHUB: What were your friends like? What did you do together?
TYRON: Most of my friends were athletes. We went to the skating rink to dance a lot, went to the movies, and went down to the landing to just hang out at a car show every Sunday. It was like an outdoor fashion show and club. It’s what all of the cool people did. Not to mention hanging out at the White Castle Lot…..I know…don’t ask! (laughs)
HIBHUB: What were your classmates like (not necessarily friends)?
TYRON: Most of them either didn’t care about their future or were very focused on what college they were going to.
HIBHUB: Were you part of a specific group or clique?
TYRON: I meshed well with everyone. I would hang out with all the people from the neighborhood, or laugh and talk with kids in my honors classes.
HIBHUB: How often did you witness bullying behavior?
TYRON: I witnessed it a lot. I never really bullied people with physical contact, but I made fun of others a lot. That was how we passed time. Now looking back that probably wasn’t appropriate.
HIBHUB: Were you ever the bully? The victim? The stander-by?
TYRON: Never really got bullied. My family had a reputation for fighting. My sisters had already paved the way for me, so I kind of had it easy.
HIBHUB: Do any incident(s) in particular come to mind?
TYRON: In middle school a young girl used the restroom on herself and I remember helping her clean up so no one would notice. I knew they would make fun of her for sure.
HIBHUB: What do you think goes on in the mind of a bully?
TYRON: Low self-esteem, wanting to be popular, being bullied themselves in the past, and fear of someone realizing that they are really scared themselves.
TYRON: There is way more now! Kids are brutal.
HIBHUB: What do you think is the worst, most emotionally damaging type of bullying?
TYRON: Being humiliated by others in front of others. You really never get over that.
HIBHUB: What do you think about the ways boys bully other boys, and the ways girls bully other girls?
TYRON: Boys seem to use more physical force, while girl seem to attack emotionally.
HIBHUB: As someone who beats people up for a living, where do you think is the most significant difference between just fighting and physical bullying?
TYRON: Well I really consider it competing. I never really fight. The difference is I do this as a source of making a living and not because I do not like my opponent. People who fight could be fighting to defend themselves or others. Bullying is picking on someone who you think will not defend themselves.
“ I remember helping her clean up so no one would notice. I knew they would make fun of her for sure.”
HIBHUB: What do you think should be done to prevent bullying incidents?
TYRON: Close monitoring by teachers, uniforms, and keeping kids separated that are constantly in contact.
HIBHUB: What message would you like to give to the victims watching out there?
TYRON: God created you and He doesn’t make mistakes. Be confident in yourself and more importantly be comfortable with yourself.
HIBHUB: What message would you like to give to the bullies?
TYRON: Stop or I’m coming to pay you a visit! (laughs) Just kidding. But everyone gets their day. Having someone kill themselves because you are not happy with the image in the mirror is not worth it.
HIBHUB: What message would you like to give to the schools?
TYRON: Bring people like me in to come to your schools and speak to kids. Or someone who can relate to them and they look up to. Teachers are the ones these students see every day. It usually goes in one ear and out the other, unfortunately.
HIBHUB: As a parent, what message would you give to other parents?
TYRON: Look for signs in your kids. Encourage them that they are fine like they are. Stay in contact with the school. Contact other parents if their child is bullying yours.
HIBHUB: What would you say to someone who was too afraid to stand up for themselves?
TYRON: Get the teachers involved. The bullying only works if you let them get to you. If you act as if it doesn’t bother you then it is really not fun.
HIBHUB: What do you think is the most important self-defense move?
TYRON: The most important self-defense move is prevention.
A very special thanks to Tony Reid and Rattling the Cage for arranging this interview.