UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya apologized Sunday for saying he would make UFC 248 opponent Yoel Romero “crumble like the Twin Towers.”
Adesanya (18-0 MMA, 7-0 UFC) made the comments at a news conference on Saturday for the March 7 headliner fight in Las Vegas against Romero (13-2 MMA, 9-3 UFC).
“He’s a guy no one wants to fight,” Adesanya said at a press conference in New Zealand. “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.”
Adesanya, 30, came under fire for the remark in reference to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York that killed over 3,000 people. Paulo Costo (13-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC) had the harshest criticism in the hours following, writing on Twitter:
“You are a disgusting piece of s—. How dare you make a joke disrespecting the thousands who died and the heroic firefighters and police. I will really kill you, dirty kiwi (sic).”
The Nigerian-born and New Zealand raised Adesanya apologized on his Instagram story and on Twitter on Sunday after sharing a comment from a fan saying he’s sure the fighter wouldn’t say it again if he had a second chance.
“The comment in the last story sums up how I feel about the situation. I never made a joke about people dying or made light of the tragic event that was 9/11. I was simply rambling and my brain worked faster than my mouth in a moment to (choose) 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 (the) future with my words.”
Adesanya, who made his professional debut in 2012, does not have a history of making controversial remarks such as these.
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