'I crossed the line' - Israel Adesanya apologizes for distasteful remarks he made about Kevin Holland

Kevin Holland (left); Israel Adesanya (right)
Kevin Holland (left); Israel Adesanya (right)

Israel Adesanya has apologized for the distasteful remarks he made about Kevin Holland. Adesanya has lately been the recipient of a considerable amount of criticism after the ‘rape’ comment he made regarding Holland.

Many in the MMA community – as well as others who came across Israel Adesanya’s comments after it was reported by mainstream media outlets across the world – condemned Adesanya’s comments. They asserted that Adesanya shouldn’t have issued a rape threat to Kevin Holland or anyone else for the matter.

UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya and 2020’s UFC middleweight breakout star Kevin Holland have been engaged in a war of words over the past few months. During the verbal feud, Adesanya took to his Instagram Stories and went on to make the following threat against Holland:

“Bro, I’ll f**king rape you.”

Israel Adesanya has reportedly deleted the aforementioned Instagram Story from his profile. The Nigerian-New Zealand MMA superstar’s comment sparked outrage in his home country of New Zealand and several other parts of the world.

In response to the backlash, Israel Adesanya took to his official Twitter account and jibed at the New Zealand media, by tweeting a GIF of an individual seemingly eating popcorn and enjoying a show unfolding. The statement that Adesanya attached to the tweet read as follows:

“Incoming clickbait NZ media in 3, 2, 1...”

That said, Israel Adesanya has now tweeted out an apology for his controversial comment regarding Kevin Holland. Adesanya’s apology tweet contained an image, the text in which read as follows:

“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 to growing under the spotlight, and I take this as a lesson to be more selective with words under pressure.”

The Last Stylebender has also received support from certain sections of the MMA world. Some believe that Israel Adesanya's comment was taken out of context and that it isn't unheard of for trash talk in the combat sports realm to cross the line.

Israel Adesanya’s ‘rape’ comment was condemned by prominent socio-political personalities in New Zealand

Jan Blachowicz (left); Israel Adesanya (right)
Jan Blachowicz (left); Israel Adesanya (right)

As reported by Stuff, the Executive Director of Rape Prevention Education (RPE) Debbi Tohill addressed Israel Adesanya’s controversial comment and noted:

“People with a large social media following can play a significant role in reducing rates of sexual violence and creating healthy cultures of consent for any sexual activity.”
“Conversely, these kind of comments where rape is used as a threat create a culture where it is acceptable to make sexualised comments with the potential to cause further harm. Sportspeople and celebrities can really influence young people, we would like to see this happen in a positive way, not misused and normalizing threats of sexual violence.”

Furthermore, as reported by RNZ, the Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand, Grant Robertson, stated:

“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.”

UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya’s most recent fight was a UFC light heavyweight title matchup against the light heavyweight division’s current champion Jan Blachowicz. Adesanya suffered a unanimous decision loss against Blachowicz at UFC 259 (March 6th, 2021), and he’s subsequently revealed that his next fight will be at middleweight.

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Edited by James McGlade
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