Israel Adesanya under fire over 'pathetic' act towards Alex Pereira's son

The Nigerian-born New Zealand fighter took aim at his opponent's young son after his win at UFC 287.

Israel Adesanya, pictured here mocking Alex Pereira's son after his win at UFC 287.
Israel Adesanya mocked Alex Pereira's son after his win at UFC 287. Image: Getty/UFC

Israel Adesanya has come under fire over his actions towards Alex Pereira’s son after his incredible knockout victory at UFC 287. Adesanya pulled off a stunning KO against Pereira to reclaim the middleweight crown in Miami, downing the Brazilian in the second round to avenge his only UFC defeat at that weight class.

With the second round coming to a close, Adesanya was backed up against the cage but suddenly unleashed a huge right hand and followed it up with another to knock Pereira out cold. The Nigerian-born Kiwi fighter celebrated wildly in the cage after taking back the belt he lost to the Brazilian in November.

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Adesanya shot three mock arrows at Pereira while he was lying unconscious on the canvas, before turning his attention to the Brazilian's son in the crowd. Adesanya could be seen pointing out Pereira's son before falling to the mat to mock the young boy's father.

It was the same taunt that Pereira's son used to mock Adesanya after the pair's first fight - won by Pereira. “I’m petty. I remember. The first time he knocked me out in Brazil, his son came into the ring and then just started to lie dead next to me," Adesanya said in his post-fight press conference.

“I’m like, ‘You f***ing little a******, I’ll whoop your ass if your dad don’t do it for you’. I looked for his kid, I pointed at him, and I saw him and I was like, ‘Hey, hey, hey’, just to remind him.”

Pereira's son was left in tears while watching the aftermath of the fight, and many took aim at Adesanya over his actions on social media. "Izzy is cold, lmao and for Adesanya to look at Pereira’s son and get revenge for something he did when he was 10 by taunting him after knocking his dad out is wild petty," one pundit said.

Steve Ibbotson Kickboxing wrote on Instagram: “A 35-year-old (sic) man holding a grudge against a boy is the weakest thing I’ve ever seen. Awesome fighter, awesome finish and I knew it was going to happen. But the dude has zero class.” Others described Adesanya's actions as "pathetic" and "disgusting".

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Despite the animosity, Adesanya said there was no ill-will between himself and Pereira. “I saw him backstage. We’re cool. He’s a great champion, he’s a warrior,” he said.

“His story, I mean that, I’m the antagonist of his story. He’s a f***ing beast, coming from where he’s come from.

"The adversities he’s been through in his life to get to where he’s gotten now, and taking me out the way he has, it’s a f***ing beautiful story for him. But like I said, tonight it’s not about his story, it’s about my story, which is history.”

Israel Adesanya, pictured here celebrating after knocking out Alex Pereira at UFC 287.
Israel Adesanya celebrates after knocking out Alex Pereira at UFC 287. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

The Nigerian-born New Zealander is now back atop of the middleweight pile - a weight class he has dominated for the last four years. "I played possum a bit ... look at me, I am here, he is here, that last one (punch) had everything. That last hammer fist was from the gods," Adesanya said.

The 33-year-old told the fans in attendance that he hoped they would have the chance to feel the same joy that he was feeling in that moment. "If you stay down, you will never ever get that resolve. Fortify your mind and feel this level of happiness as you rise," he said.

with AAP

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