Israel Adesanya heads into this weekend’s UFC 276 hoping to defend his UFC middleweight title for the fifth time. Looking to stop him will be Jared Cannonier.
Ahead of this main event, Adesanya has been doing the media rounds. During his press conference yesterday he touched on one of his least favourite subjects: ‘Tittygate’.
That neologism refers to accusations that Adesanya has taken performance enhancing drugs, based solely on the appearance of his chest during his fight with Paulo Costa in 2020. Conspiracy theorists claimed Adesanya’s appearance was evidence that he had gynecomastia, a condition that can be triggered by hormone imbalances commonly associated with steroid use.
Adesanya has never been flagged by USADA for a failed drug test. He’s also received a jacket from the drug testers for 50 clean tests.
“When you’re great, they talk about ‘Tittygate,’” Adesanya said, when discussing this controversy (ht MMA Junkie). “At the same time, I’m like, ‘How the f***?’ They just need to find excuses to take away my greatness. I understand this is what people are supposed to do, so I let them.”
Adesanya then offered a reward for anyone who could prove he had taken PEDs in his UFC career.
“Look, I will give $3 million to anyone who can ever have concrete evidence that I even know what the f*** I’m doing with steroids or how to take steroids. I promise you. $3 million if you can find anyone who has concrete evidence that I’ve ever even purchased, touched, or done any kind of performance-enhancing drugs or whatever. I watched Icarus. That’s how much I know about steroids, from that documentary. It opened my eyes. It shocked me.
“So yeah, $3 million for anyone who can ever find any concrete evidence that I’ve been using performance-enhancing drugs. Pull up. This is easy. It’s easy to talk and type online, but really it got to me a little after the Costa fight. I was like, ‘These f***ing c***s are just trying to take away my greatness, because I had a f***ing spectacular performance.’ I’m like, ‘How the f*** are you trying to take that away with accusations based on nothing.’ I’m like, yeah, pull up. Show me what’s up. Three million. I know you don’t have that in the bank. I do.”
Adesanya joined the UFC in 2018 and quickly signalled his potential as a future champion. He carved his way through the division, while maintaining an unbeaten pro record, on route to an interim middleweight title shot against Kelvin Gastelum in 2019.
He then took the undisputed UFC middleweight title with a TKO win over Robert Whittaker a few months later. Since then he has defended the belt versus Costa, Yoel Romero, Marvin Vettori and—most recently—Whittaker again.
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