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.”
Israel Adesanya runs his mouth allot. He is an amazing talent, yet his arrogance is going to eventually get him KO’ed. Plus, using any metaphor that references 9/11 is disgusting. Shame on you Israel!!!— Vincent W. Fields Sr. (@Vincent79041983) February 22, 2020
Adesanya is no doubt my favorite UFC fighter ever but that comment definitely ain’t it 🤦🏻♂️— JR (@Jordan_Romano) February 22, 2020
I’ve always been a huge fan of Adesanya, but being a New Yorker, 9/11 and the Twin Towers is too far just to promote a fight. Unnecessary. https://t.co/2y5jHY9RJO— Michael Henken (@MichaelHenken) February 22, 2020
Wtf Adesanya.... you CANNOT joke about the Twin Towers!!!— Antonio (@JAntonio323) February 22, 2020
Me when someone tweeted that Israel Adesanya said He will make Yoel Romero crumble like the Twin Towers. 😐 pic.twitter.com/9RgbnIgv1M— Davei Boi (@Davei_Boi) February 22, 2020
Disgusted with Israel adesanya twin towers comments hope Yoel sends his head to the shadow realm— youngone (@youngon27442988) February 22, 2020
Israel Adesanya saying Yoel Romero wil crumble like the Twin Towers isn’t funny in the slightest— Steve 🖤 (@SteveK_MMA) February 22, 2020
That was one of the worst days in American history
2,606 people died at the World Trade Center that day, including 343 firefighters
Have some respect
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.