The reigning UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya recalled a moment from his past recently. According to Adesanya he was down to his last $300 before signing with the UFC.
Many successful MMA fighters were sttruggling to make ends meet when their career was starting out. UFC champion Charles Oliveira grew up in the favelas and used martial arts as his ticket out. Similarly, Conor McGregor was supported by his now fiance after quitting a plumbing job in order to focus fulltime on MMA.
However, Adesanya’s story may be a bit different. ‘The Last Stylebender’ had competed in kickboxing since the age of 21 at Kunlun fight based in Beijing, China. During a recent interview on ‘All Goats TV’, Adesanya shared how he struggled with his finances. He blamed the promotion for suddenly benching him.
“I was just like check your phone, check your bank and I was like down to my last like 300. The company that I was working in China f—ed me over cause I had seven fights left in my contract, each fight at that time was like $25,000. And they just stopped giving me fights… So, I went to the UFC. Shout out to Engage though, they came in the clutch at that time… I wouldn’t have rent for either the next week or the week after.” Adesanya said.
Fortunately, his family had his back. They helped him through that hard time and in 2018 Adesanya managed to join the biggest MMA promotion, the UFC.
He added, “This is one thing I loved about my parents, they always supported… And a friend like Corbin as well, who was always in the clutch for me as well. People like that I keep around and I hold them dearly.”
“Look, I love the UFC. I’ve looked at this company and wanted to be in this company for so long. I love that we’ve gotten to this agreement finally. I just signed for the actual bout this week… I’m glad we came to this agreement. I’m glad we have a good working relationship. Like I said, with everything happening right now, this will trickle down to the rest of the fighters and it’s only going to be great for the company. Just give it time.” Adesanya said.
In case you missed it – Adesanya’s mom is a nurse who was appalled when he did a shoey on live tv.
Nowadays, Adesanya doesn’t have to worry about financial issues. The 32-year-old Nigerian has prolonged his career and signed a lucrative multi-fight deal with the UFC. According to his management team, it was one of the most lucrative deals in UFC history. UFC’s biggest star, Conor McGregor congratulated him on the new contract.
After defending his title against Robert Whittaker on February 12, the UFC has confirmed that the number 2 on UFC middleweight rank Jared Cannonier would be the next challenger. Cannonier recently defeated Derek Brunson in the same event Adesanya defended his title. Adesanya is reportedly excited to face off against a dark horse Cannonier.