UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya criticized the treatment of New Zealand competitors in his own country. He has also reiterated his vow to never compete there again.
Along with fellow countryman Kai Kara-France and Australian legend Alexander Volkanovski, Adesanya spoke during a jam-packed press conference for UFC 276 and 277 in Sydney.
Adesanya criticized New Zealand for how it portrayed its own fighters and how it handled its famous citizens during the epidemic.
Adesanya told Australian reporters:
“(UFC) is not as hailed in the (New Zealand) media, as much as you guys (Australia) hail your champions.”
“This is something I think they’re missing out on, and 20 years down the line I think they’re going to kick themselves and say we should’ve gotten behind these guys and we shouldn’t have tried to break up their camp, while other teams were able to have their isolated camps.”
Adesanya has been outspoken in his criticism of the New Zealand government’s handling of his colleague Dan Hooker. Hooker received his visa to leave the country only 14 hours before he needed to make weight for UFC 266.
Despite allowing other athletic teams to leave the nation, police twice shut down training camps, making it impossible for fighters like Hooker to prepare for their bout.
“Because of the way they treated Dan and my team I will never fight in New Zealand ever again – that’s why if I ever do a stadium show again, f**k it, I’ll do it in Australia.”
He mentioned the two competitors standing next to him, Volkanovski and Kara-France in his statement on the emergence of Australasian boxers.
“I’m telling you right now, take a look at this, one, two, three (potential) champions, and it’s all coming from this side of the world. Australia, little old New Zealand, it’s what we’re doing, what a time to be alive.”
Israel Adesanya has already made similar remarks in which he has promised to never compete on home turf once again after the Covid-19 epidemic.
You’ll never see me fight in New Zealand again, the MMA star said on his own YouTube account.
“All that money, they can get it from somewhere else. Their rugbys, their crickets and all the others they’re giving exemptions to, but you will never ever see me fight on these shores [again].”
“That was one of my dreams, to headline a stadium in my backyard. That dream’s dead in the water … that’s just the way I feel right now.”