New Zealand UFC fighter Israel Adesanya has been condemned for making a "disgusting" reference to the 9/11 terrorist attack at a press conference in his homeland.
Adesanya is scheduled to put his middleweight world title on the line against Yoel Romero at UFC 248 in Las Vegas next month.
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Romero has a history of failing to make weight for his fights, with the Cuban struggling on several occasions to cut weight.
Nigerian-born Kiwi Adesanya didn't mince his words when asked about his next opponent's issues with making weight.
“Because f *** all of this. He (Romero) is a guy who disrespects the sport. It would irritate me a lot (if he didn't hit the weight)," Adesanya said.
"I'm ready for Darren Till or Jared Cannonier to enter the fight (for the title) on the eve," the Kiwi insisted.
However, Adesanya was accused of crossing the line after downplaying the fear factor many believe Romero possesses.
“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.”
Adesanya comments branded ‘disgusting’
Fellow middleweight Paulo Costa led the condemnation of Adesanya, branding the Kiwi "disgusting" over his choice of words.
“You are a disgusting piece of sh*t,” Costa tweeted. “How dare you make a joke disrespecting the thousands who died and the heroic firefighters and police.I will really kill you, dirty kiwi.”
Adesanya took the middleweight belt from Robert Whittaker after destroying the Aussie at UFC 243 in Melbourne last October.
The fight between Adesanya and Romero leads the UFC 248 card which is scheduled for March 7 in Las Vegas.
Weili Zhang and Joanna Jedrzejczyk - who are battling for the strawweight belt (52 kg) in the 'co-main event' on the night.