Heartbreaking bullying video draws stunning reaction
DANA White has stirred things up on social media plenty of times. But he's never seen a reaction like this.
The UFC boss has been floored by the response he's seen since sharing a video of Keaton Jones, a young boy who spoke out in gut-wrenching fashion against the bullying he's suffering at a Tennessee school.
Meet Keaton Jones a very smart little boy who is being bullied at school. This video is heartbreaking!! I want to bring Keaton to Vegas and hang out at UFC Headquarters. If anyone knows how i can reach the family please let me know. Thank u everyone pic.twitter.com/BR8c4ldDFc— Dana White (@danawhite) December 10, 2017
The vision, which shows Keaton with tears streaming down his face as he talks about being too scared to go to lunch, is incredibly moving.
"Why do they bully? What's the point of it? Why do you find joy in taking innocent people and finding a way to be mean to them? It's not OK," Keaton says.
"They made fun of my nose. They call me ugly. They say I have no friends. (They) poured milk on me and put ham down my clothes, threw bread at me.
"I don't like that they do it to me and I sure don't like that they do it to other people because it's not OK. Some people are different, they don't need to be criticised about it. It's not their fault.
"But if you are made fun of, don't let it bother you ... it's hard but it will probably get better one day."
Thank u all for helping try to find Keaton. 1000% greatest post and response in my social media history. This kid is special and we all feel it. Dying to meet him!!— Dana White (@danawhite) December 10, 2017
The original video, posted by Keaton's mother on Facebook, has been viewed more than 18 million times.
"For the record, Keaton asked to do this AFTER he had he me pick him up AGAIN because he was afraid to go to lunch," Kimberly Jones wrote. "My kids are by no stretch perfect & at home, he's as all boy as they come, but by all accounts he's good at school. Talk to your kids ... We all know how it feels to want to belong, but only a select few know how it really feels not to belong anywhere."
Hey, #KeatonJones - you have friends here at the UFC, buddy. Today and everyday. #StandWithKeaton @Lakyn_Jones | @DC_MMA @TWooodley @FelderPaul @SugaRashadEvans @KennyFlorian pic.twitter.com/ZxX0cY1bu7— UFC (@ufc) December 10, 2017
The vision struck a nerve with notable figures across the sports world, including two UFC champions.
"I want you to know, bud, you've got friends in the UFC," light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier said. "Regardless of how dark it looks and how sad you may become, know that people are your friend and willing to stand with you."
"This video really touched my heart," added welterweight champ Tyron Woodley. "It's not wrong to be different. We all are beautifully and wonderfully made.
"Just remember, man, you one of a kind. God didn't make no mistakes. Your life is going to have a purpose, a way you can reach and inspire someone else through all the adversity you face."
This is truly heartbreaking! I’d love to teach this kid to fight and believe me the bullies would never bully anyone again after a good crack on the chin! Bully = Coward 😔— Tony Bellew (@TonyBellew) December 10, 2017
There was also an outpouring of support - and incredible offers - from the entertainment world as Keaton went from bullied teen to one of the most popular kids on the internet.
Actor Chris Evans, AKA Captain America, invited Keaton to attend the premiere of the Avengers in Los Angeles.
Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown and Suits star Patrick J. Adams also gave Keaton a shout out.