Israel Adesanya had a change of tone this week amid heavy backlash of his threat to “rape” an opponent while talking trash.
The UFC middleweight champion issued a statement that his choice of words “crossed the line” and vowed to “be more selective with words under pressure.”
It all went down when middleweight contender Kevin Holland called Adesanya a “true loser” after Adesanya’s UFC 259 loss to Jan Blachowicz in a March 6 light heavyweight title bout.
Adesanya responded to Holland’s barb in a since-expired Instagram story declaring “Bro, I’ll f***ing rape you.”
Adesanya initially dismissed the backlash as “clickbait.”
New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson condemned Adesanya’s rape comment in an interview with Radio New Zealand on Thursday.
“There is never a time to make flippant comments about rape,” Robertson said. “It’s just not something anybody should do. “I am sure Israel understands that. I believe he has deleted [the post] in question. It will be up to the UFC as to what they do. …
“It is not an issue that anyone should be making jokes or flippant comments about at all.”
Adesanya issued his statement that he “crossed the line” after Robertson’s comments.