UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya has landed in hot water in New Zealand, where the country’s Deputy Prime Minister has hit out at the mixed martial artist for directing a “rape” comment at rival fighter Kevin Holland.
Adesanya stunned fans when he announced in an Instagram Live video that he would “rape” Holland if they ever fought in the cage – a retaliation to a barrage of insults slung towards ‘The Last Stylebender’.
“Bro, I will f***ing rape you,” Adesanya said in the video which was released to his 4.6 million followers on the platform before subsequently beingdeleted.
Such is Adesanya’s profile in his adopted home country, though, that his crude statement soon found its way into the top office in the country, with Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson – who is also the Minister for Sport – issuing a harsh rebuke of the 20-1 fighter.
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“We have to take rape seriously,” said Robertson. “It’s not an issue that anyone should be making jokes or flippant comments about at all.
“I’m sure Israel understands that, I believe he has deleted the tweet [sic] in question. It will be up to the UFC as to what they do.”
Since debuting in the UFC just over three years ago, Adesanya has risen to become one of New Zealand’s highest profile sportsmen, as well as one of the most famous MMA fighters in the world.
Not a fan of Adesanya, but the guy beats people up for a living and is expected to be polite about it? The disingenuously literal interpretation of figurative language as strategic stupidity. Such clutching of pearl necklaces, the innuendos write themselves! #PoeticLicentiousness
— Peter Givenbless (@GivenblessPeter) March 25, 2021
WTF is going on with Adesanya & the threat to rape opponents. This ain’t on Halberg Awards need to step on
— Joy Hooker (@JoySC01) March 23, 2021
He is considered to be among the foremost MMA strikers in the sport and is currently ranked fifth in the UFC’s pound-for-pound ledger.
Adesanya also attracted criticism last year when he predicted that opponent Yoel Romero would “crumble like the Twin Towers” – comments for which he soon apologized.
“You speak on the mic enough times and you’re bound to miss the mark with some bars,” he said at the time. I did on this one and for that I’m sorry. I’ll be more careful in future with my words.”
The fighter has not yet commented on Robertson’s criticism of him but did issue a tweet which suggested that the media storm surrounding his “rape” comment was a plot by New Zealand-based ‘clickbait’ media.
Adesanya was last seen in the cage earlier this month at UFC 259 in Las Vegas, where he came up short in his bid to add a second world title to his collection, losing via unanimous decision to light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz in what was the first defeat of his MMA career.
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