UFC star Israel Adesanya has apologized following his controversial remark to his fellow fighter Kevin Holland while trash-talking him in a since-deleted video.
In a statement released on Twitter, the Nigerian-born New Zealand MMA fighter said he understands the gravity of his words and how it has hurt people.
The statement reads: “Last week 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.”
— Israel Adesanya (@stylebender) March 25, 2021
New Zealand’s deputy prime minister, Grant Robertson, who is also the sports minister, blasted the middleweight champ and called on the UFC to take action.
He said: “There is never a time to make flippant comments about rape. It’s just not something anybody should do.
“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.
“But I would certainly be making clear to him, and to anybody actually, that we have to take rape seriously.
“It’s not an issue that anyone should be making jokes or flippant comments about at all.”