Prior to this weekend’s UFC 248 event, where Israel Adesanya defends his UFC Middleweight title against Yoel Romero, the champion has opened up about his experience with racism.
Israel Adesanya sat down with MMA Fighting and discussed his experience in having to deal with racism.
“You get racism everywhere,” he said. “It’s like water off a duck’s back almost. One thing I find weird is that when I talk about it, especially when something happens in America, people are like ‘don’t get involved in American politics.’ Bro, when I come here, a KKK guy is not going to be like ‘oh you’re from Nigeria, you’re from New Zealand.’ They just see you as black. They’re going to be racist towards you regardless of where you’re from.”
Israel Adesanya isn’t the first fighter to open up about his experience with racism in the sport. Former UFC Welterweight champion Tyron Woodley has talked about his experiences in the past.
“If you look at the history of our sport,” Woodley stated in 2017 interview with MMA Hour. “And it’s not even our sport, the history of the American culture. Certain things are subliminally embraced that are racist. When you say to me ‘Tyron, you are well spoken’, what does that mean? Does that mean I’m well spoken comparable to all the mixed martial artists, the 500 UFC fighters on the roster? Or does that mean as a black male in America.”
Israel Adesanya is set to take on Yoel Romero this evening in his 1st UFC title defense. The Nigerian-born New-Zealander became the UFC Middleweight champion after he knocked out the former champion Robert Whittaker at UFC 243. Before that Adesanya had won the interim title in an action packed fight against Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 236. The champion has an undefeated professional MMA record of 18-0. He is widely viewed as a potential future superstar, especially by the UFC president Dana White, who recently discussed Adesanya’s potential star power.
This article first appeared on CLOSEDGUARDMEDIA.com on 7th March, 2020.