Bullied Boy Getting MMA Lessons After Heartbreaking Video

A 9-year-old boy who said in a heartbreaking video that he wanted to kill himself after being bullied, is taking up mixed martial arts for self-defense following an outpouring of online support from celebrities and strangers alike.

Quaden Bayles, who is an Aboriginal Australian with Achondroplasia dwarfism, went viral after his mother, Yarraka Bayles, posted a video of him breaking down in tears following a bullying incident about his height. The genetic condition, according to the National Library of Medicine, prevents cartilage tissue from turning to bone during early development of the skeleton and is marked by a short stature.  

"I wish I could stab myself in the heart," Quaden says while fighting back tears in the emotional video, which has since been removed from Facebook. Yarraka recorded the video in the hopes of raising awareness about bullying and getting advice from other parents on how to deal with its consequences. "I want people to know this is the effect bullying has," the mother can be heard saying from behind the camera. "This is what bullying does. All it takes is one more instant, and you wonder why kids are killing themselves."

"We try to be as positive as possible," Yarraka says in the video, through tears of her own. After the world tuned in to Quaden's plight, some good may come out of this terrible situation. 

MMA officials offered Quaden free self-defense training

Quaden Bayles' six-minute video — which garnered at least 21 million views since being posted on Feb. 18, 2020 — received an outpouring of support from the general public and celebrities, including the CEO of a top MMA organization, who offered the young boy free training lessons.

The Bayles family is reportedly open to the opportunity to enter the ring. "I just spoke to his amazing mom, Yarraka, over the phone," ONE CEO Chatri Sityodtong shared on Twitter on Feb. 21, 2020. "She has graciously accepted my invitation to come to Singapore for an all-expenses-paid vacation so Quaden can learn martial arts at EVOLVE." ONE, according to its website, is the world's largest martial arts organization and is based in Asia.

"Our instructors will be sure to bully-proof Quaden," Sityodtong continued, saying he planned to FaceTime the family about the offer. "Let us all take the opportunity to show little Quaden how much the world cares."

A GoFundMe page is raising money for a Disney trip

It looks like Quaden Bayle might soon be touring different parts of the world, considering he now has a chance to go to Disneyland in California in addition to taking free MMA classes in Singapore. Comedian Brad Williams, who was also born with achondroplasia and has spoken out about it before, started a GoFundMe page in an effort to send Quaden to the theme park. More than 20,000 donors raised more than $471,500 — far surpassing the original $10,000 goal. Williams said he wanted "to let Quaden know that bullying will not be tolerated, and that he is a wonderful human being who deserves joy."

The amount of money fundraised would pay for flight, hotel, and trip expenses with plenty to spare. Excess money will reportedly be donated to anti-bullying and anti-abuse charities. "This isn't just for Quaden, this is for anyone who has been bullied in their lives and told they weren't good enough," Williams wrote. "Let's show Quaden and others, that there is good in the world and they are worthy of it."

It's all about turning kindness into awareness

Additional celebrities have shown support for Quaden Bayle, including fellow Australian Hugh Jackman. "Quaden-you've got a friend in me," the actor tweeted alongside a video, telling the boy, "You are stronger than you know, mate." Jackman added, "Bullying is not okay. Period. Life is hard enough."

Since Quaden is a Boston Celtics fan, basketball player Enes Kanter showed him some love, writing on Twitter, "The world is behind you, the Celtics are behind you Champ." Kanter offered him a front-row seat at a Celtics game and shared a photo of the 9-year-old decked out in Celtics gear holding a basketball, all smiles. 

Quaden was also invited to lead the Indigenous All-Stars out onto the field during their rugby league game with the Maori All-Stars in Australia, according to NBC San Diego.

While the outpouring of support seems to have encouraged the Bayles family, his mother is calling for continued anti-bullying awareness. "We could never have dreamt in our wildest dreams that it would've gone worldwide and created such a media frenzy," Yarraka Bayles told reporters, per NBC San Diego. "There are way too many people suffering in silence and my heart goes out to those families that have already lost their children to bullying. It's an international crisis and it demands urgent attention."

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).