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UFC champ Chris Weidman tells bleeding 94-year-old neighbor, 'You're not dying today'

UFC fighter Chris Weidman rests after jiujitsu training

UFC fighter Chris Weidman rests after jiujitsu training with Gian Villante at the Serra Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Levittown on March 11, 2014. Photo Credit: Chuck Fadely

Anna Croenlein's driveway is just a few hundred feet away from neighbor Chris Weidman.

Croenlein is a 94-year-old great-grandmother. Weidman, 30, is the UFC's undefeated middleweight champion. Neighbors for a little more than a year in Dix Hills, neither knew much about the other.

Not until last Thursday when Weidman heard her scream.

Weidman was cleaning out his car before driving to the airport to pick up a friend and heard loud yelling through a pouring rain. He didn't know where it was coming from. The cries for help continued. Weidman got in his car and drove, with the window open, in the direction of the noise.

He saw a figure in the driveway. It was Croenlein.

Weidman jumped out of his car to help her. He moved Croenlein into the garage to get her out of the rain and called 911. After a few minutes, he then called a police officer friend and asked him for help.

"The one thing that kinda broke my heart, was she kept saying, 'I just wanted to live one more year,' " Weidman said. "I'm like, 'You're gonna live. You're not dying today. Today's not your day.' "

Weidman said Croenlein told him she had slipped and fell into a glass table inside her home. She tried to call her daughter, but they did not connect. Croenlein then went outside looking for help.

After Weidman called for help, he waited with Croenlein and tended to the cut in the back of her head. Weidman said Croenlein kept asking him to call her daughter, who was at a dental appointment. "She kept saying, 'Dr. Papa, Dr. Papa,' " Weidman said.

Weidman used his phone to search for the doctor. "The only thing that was coming up was Papa John's," Weidman said.

Dix Hills Fire Department chief Bill Stio was the first of six rescue workers to reach the scene. He arrived to find Croenlein sitting on a chair in the garage with Weidman applying pressure to the wound in the back of her head.

"He was in the garage with the woman, he flagged us down, his car was actually in the middle of the street," Stio said. "There was blood on the floor, there was blood on the wall. The woman's cordless phone was on the ground with blood on it."

Stio said Croenlein was lucid and answering all the questions he and his medical team were asking. He said she was aware of everything going on around her.

"Had she been left unattended for a long period of time, she could have bled out enough to lose conciousness," Stio said. "His intervention was definitely key in getting this woman to the hospital."

She was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital in West Islip, treated and released.

On Wednesday, Croenlein's daughter did not want to be interviewed. But she did say that her mother is home and feeling fine. She echoed Weidman's sentiment that Croenlein is "a tough old bird." She also wanted to express again her thanks and gratitude to Weidman for his assistance.

Dix Hills Fire District commissioner Todd Cohen said they are making arrangements to honor Weidman for his assistance.

"We're going to be giving some type of award to Chris, basically as a Good Samaritan for taking the time out and doing the right thing," Cohen said. "We don't get too many people that step in."

Cohen said he hopes Weidman's story inspires others to take an interest in learning how to assist people in need. Cohen said the Dix Hills Fire Department offers several free classes.

"At the time it was kind of surreal, especially hearing her account of what happened," Weidman said. "I'm just happy I was there."

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