Nigerian UFC superstar, Israel Adesanya has apologized over the ‘rape’ comments he made towards fellow fighter, Kevin Holland.
— Israel Adesanya (@stylebender) March 25, 2021
In a post he shared on his twitter account on Thursday, he said: “Last weekend fight talk escalated to a point in which I crossed the line. I understand the gravity of this word and how it can affect and hurt other people apart from my opponent, although that was never my intention. I am still growing under the spotlight, and I take this as a lesson to be more selective with words under pressure.”
New Zealand’s deputy prime minister had condemned UFC champion Israel Adesanya’s comment that he would “rape” a fellow fighter.
“Bro, I will fuckin’ rape you,” Adesanya had said in an Instagram video directed at Kevin Holland, who had targeted him with a series of insulting remarks. Adesanya’s comment was broadcast to his Instagram following of 4.6 million before the post was deleted.
Deputy prime minister Grant Robertson condemned the remark and said: “We have to take rape seriously. It’s not an issue that anyone should be making jokes or flippant comments about at all.”
Robertson, who is also New Zealand’s minister for sport, added during an interview with Radio New Zealand: “I’m sure Israel understands that, I believe he has deleted the tweet in question. It will be up to the UFC as to what they do.”
The UFC middleweight champion is one of New Zealand’s most successful sporting exports and has a considerable international reach on social media – along with his 4.6 million Instagram followers he has 860,000 on Twitter.
Since making his UFC debut in 2018, Adesanya’s rise has been meteoric. The 31-year-old is considered one of the best strikers in the world and is currently ranked fifth in the UFC men’s pound-for-pound rankings.
He was undefeated in the octagon with a 20-0 record until earlier this month, when his bid to hold two belts simultaneously fell short in a light heavyweight title match against Jan Blachowicz.
It is not the first time that Adesanya has been in the spotlight for making slurs or ill-considered remarks.
In early 2020 he apologised after threatening to make his opponent Yoel Romero “crumble like the Twin Towers”. At the time, he said, “You speak on the mic enough times and you’re bound to miss the mark with some bars… I did on this one and for that I’m sorry. I’ll be more careful in future with my words.”