UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya has issued a public apology after making a rape joke about fellow UFC fighter Kevin Holland.
Adesanya came under intense scrutiny this week after posting a video on his Instagram where he said he would rape Holland. Soon after, politicians in New Zealand criticized the UFC superstar for his comments, with Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson strongly condemning Adesanya for his comments. With Adesanya under the spotlight, “The Last Stylebender” took to his social media on Thursday to issue a public apology for the comments. In the statement, Adesanya promised this will be a lesson learned for him.
“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 (learning) to growing under the spotlight, and I take this as a lesson to be more selective with words under pressure,” Israel Adesanya wrote in his statement.
It’s unknown yet if the UFC will take any sort of disciplinary action. In the past, the promotion cut former bantamweight Miguel Torres for making a joke about a “rape van,” and UFC legend Forrest Griffin was once under heat for making a rape joke. Griffin donated money to a rape crisis center, though the UFC did not release him. The UFC won’t release Adesanya, obviously, but perhaps a public statement regarding the matter would help.
Adesanya (20-1) is coming off of a unanimous decision loss to Jan Blachowicz in the main event of UFC 259. He is considered by many to be one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport. Prior to losing to Blachowicz, Adesanya was 9-0 in the UFC middleweight division. He plans on returning to the lower weight class for his next fight, with potential opponents including Robert Whittaker, Kelvin Gastelum, Darren Till, and Marvin Vettori among the choices of who could be standing opposite him in the Octagon next.