UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya has learned a valuable lesson about trash talk, issuing an apology after using a "Twin Towers" reference when talking about his next fight.
The Nigerian-born New Zealander has long sparked feuds with the likes of Jon Jones and worked hard to sell fights with his words including against Aussie Robert Whittaker, who he defeated to claim the title.
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It led to UFC president Dana White saying Adesanya has the "it factor" and is the future of the sport.
He is often fiery and outspoken – and nothing has changed has he prepares to face Yoel Romero at UFC 248.
But he's also now learned where the line is, with a 9/11 reference shocking fans and fighters alike as he compared what he'll do to Romero to the 2001 disaster.
“He’s a guy no one wants to fight,” Adesanya said. “Boogeyman, everyone keeps saying, oh – even Darren Till – ‘I’ll fight anyone except Yoel.’ Like, why? I’ve seen him get rocked. I’ve seen him get stopped. I’ve seen him get bloodied. I’ve seen him cry. I’ll make him cry.
“He’s human like anyone else, and everyone likes to make this myth about, ‘Oh, he’s steel, like kicking steel,’ or you hit him and he doesn’t fall. I’ll touch him enough times. I’ll touch him enough times and eventually he’ll crumble like the Twin Towers.”
Israel Adesanya has been slammed for his ‘Twin Towers’ comments.Source:NewsComAu
Adesanya was quickly slammed for the comments.
One of Adesanya's other feuds, Paulo Costa, weighed in with a threat for the middleweight champ.
You are a disgusting piece of shit. How dare you make a joke disrespecting the thousands who died and the heroic firefighters and police.I will really kill you, dirty kiwi pic.twitter.com/1vtaqDbozx
But instead of engaging with Costa, Adesanya addressed the issue on social media.
He posted a comment from a user named "markyy_mcflyy" that said "as a native NY'er witnessed that day first hand, I don't care if it was 119 years ago. Some s*** you don't joke about."
However, the comment continued to say while he went too far, the commenter was still a fan of Adesanya.
The man himself then made a contrite apology, which fans praised.
"The comment in the last story sums up how I feel about this situation. I never made a joke about people dying or made light of the tragic event that was 9/11," he wrote.
"I was simply rambling and my brain worked faster than my mouth in a moment to chose the wrong euphemism. You speak on the mic enough times and you're bound to miss the mark with some bars.
"I did on this one and for that I'm sorry. I'll be more careful in future with my words."
Hopefully he’ll think before he speaks.Source:NewsComAu
Fans appreciated the apology from Adesanya, with some also taking aim at Costa's reaction.
To Adesanya’s credit, this isn’t an “I’m sorry if I offended you.”
He explained the misstep, fully owned it and apologized. Well handled. https://t.co/EWGt7pzTGu
Hey look, an actual apology. No, "I'm sorry if I offended anyone" or BS like that. It's not hard to do, but yet, it's incredibly rare. Good job from Adesanya, maybe Henry Cejudo will learn a lesson? https://t.co/SjHCOl8b4S
Costa calls out Adesanya for a poor choice in words, then makes one of his own that’s arguably worse. This is very MMA. https://t.co/iR0lPfM8pG
While there are others that won't forgive Adesanya's poor choice of words, it was a strong apology.
Senior sports writer for Stuff Duncan Johnstone slammed the words in an opinion piece.
"Hyped-up fighters have a habit of overstepping the mark to make their point," he wrote.
"But this was trash talk at its most trashy.
"What makes it all the more disappointing, is the timing of Adesanya's words.
"They come so soon after he stole the hearts of the nation with his acceptance speech at the Halberg Awards where he collected the New Zealand sportsman of the year gong in a historic moment of recognition for Kiwi combat sports."
Adesanya will be hoping the apology will start to rehabilitate his image after his shockingly bad choice of words.
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