No drink-driving conviction for Israel Adesanya, but judge suspends license and fines former UFC champ

Former UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya avoided a conviction in his drink-driving case.

Back in September, Adesanya entered a guilty plea after he was charged with driving on an Auckland, New Zealand street with 87 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood in his system. The legal limit is 50 milligrams, according to New Zealand law. Adesanya faced up to three months in prison and a fine of up to $4,500 for the drink-driving charge.

On Tuesday, Adesanya returned to an Auckland courtroom to face the music and, according to the New Zealand Herald, Judge Peter Winter did not convict him, although he suspended Adesanya’s drivers license for six months and ordered him to pay $1,500 to a charity and enroll in a stop-drink driving program.

During the hearing, Adesanya’s lawyer, Karl Trotter, argued that Adesanya, if convicted, stood to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in endorsement deals and that he would have trouble entering Canada next week for UFC 297, which he’s expected to attend in Toronto for promotional purposes.

“The adverse consequences, should my client be convicted, are monumental. That’s not exaggerating the situation,” Trotter said. “He realizes he is in jeopardy.”

Ultimately, Judge Winter decided that a conviction and maximum punishment was a punishment that didn’t fit the crime, despite police prosecutor Samara Wakefield opposing a discharge without conviction.

“I’m sure you have learned from this,” Winter told Adesanya as he sat in court. “You would not want to be placed in this position again, as you realize.”

Shortly following his arrest, Adesanya explained that he got behind the wheel of his car after drinking two cocktails during dinner. He was apologetic at the time, saying in a statement “I am disappointed with my decision to drive. It was wrong.”

Adesanya’s arrest occurred 21 days before his tile fight with Sean Strickland at UFC 293 in Sydney, Australia, where Strickland dominated him over the course of 25 minutes to claim the middleweight championship. Adesanya said after the defeat that he would take significant time off, although he recently teased a return to the octagon. He’s expected at UFC 297 to watch Strickland defend the belt against Dricu Du Plessis in the night’s main event.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie