Undisputed middleweight champion Israel Adesanya made an Octagon appearance on Saturday at UFC 290. “The Last Stylebender” went face-to-face with Dricus Du Plessis, who ended his night with a second-round TKO win over former titleholder Robert Whittaker.
It was a very heated confrontation to say the least, and Adesanya is getting some flak for it.
Israel Adesanya’s behavior criticized
During these Octagon face-offs, it’s usually customary for the challenger to come up and face the champion. For this instance, it was the other way around, given that things have gotten personal between Adesanya and Du Plessis.
Their face-off is no different, but Adesanya turned the heat up by a few notches with a racially-charged tirade.
“This is my African brother right here,” Adesanya said on the mic, right in front of Du Plessis’ face. “Let’s go, n—a. What’s up, bitch? Let’s go, n—a. Yeah, n—a! What’s up, n—?! The f—k you gonna do, n—a?? Yeah, my African brother!”
This had mixed reactions in the MMA community.
During the post-fight scrum, Du Plessis commented on Israel Adesanya’s actions.
“He’s behaving like a clown in there,” he told reporters. “That’s not how a champion behaves. That’s not how a man behaves. He’s behaving like a child. Conduct yourself like a champion. There are people looking up to you, and you’re behaving like that? No.
“If that sells tickets, good for him. I’ll sell tickets my way. I’m a gentleman. I’m a man. And I’ll behave like a man.”
Adesanya has made things personal with Du Plessis
Right after his UFC 287 win over Alex Pereira, Israel Adesanya already had his sights set on Du Plessis. And his motivation was more personal than business.
“I want to whoop his ass so bad. I want to whoop his ass so bad; I want to do it in South Africa or Nigeria. But he’s gotta do work. He’s gotta do something, show me something, so I can whoop that ass. And I can show you history. I’ll remind you, because you gotta choose your words wisely, when you speak on people that have come before you, people that paved the way for you.
“I don’t want to give him no clout, but if he does work—and I pray to God he keeps winning—I will gladly drag his carcass across South Africa.”
Dana White sees no wrong in Israel Adesanya’s actions
But if you ask UFC president Dana White, Israel Adesanya said nothing wrong. In his conversation with the media during the post-fight scrum, he went back to his old argument: ‘this is the fight business.’
“He’s being black. He’s black. Who gives a shit? I could care less. This is the fight business. Israel Adesanya can say whatever he wants to say. Who gives a shit?
“Are people bitching about that? Of course, they are. Too f—ng bad.”
Du Plessis predicts Israel Adesanya fight
Still running high on his win over Whittaker, Du Plessis shared his prediction for his title shot.
“I’ll knock him out just like I did tonight. If not… we saw his fight against Alex Pereira. If I get him to the floor, it is not even a fight. If I just get my hands on him, it’s not even a fight.
“I will manhandle him. I’ve done it before, and I’ll do it again.”
Adesanya has since issued his response.
With the win, Du Plessis improved to a record of 20-2.
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