On June 1, UFC Middleweight Champion Israel “The Last Stylebender” Adesanya gave an emotional speech when he joined Black Lives Matter protestors in Auckland, New Zealand, to demonstrate against the death of George Floyd. New Zealand residents gathered in solidarity with Americans who have been protesting across the United States for the past few days.
A video of The Last Stylebender’s speech was shared on Twitter by a user who goes by “ISOLATION 2020.” Here is the video:
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Adesanya Said He Was ‘Angry’ & He Shared Personal Experiences He’s Had
During the speech, Adesanya stated that he had a large platform and felt like he had to speak up. An emotional Adesanya said that for the past few weeks, he’s been “angry.”
He said, “I’m p*ssed off. Wait, hold up. How many of you walk into a store and have to put your hands behind your back just so that they don’t think you’re stealing?”
The middleweight champ continued, “How many of you walk down the street and have to kind of smile and try and make the person, who you can see is already scared of you, make them feel comfortable.”
The Last Stylebender then said that on three recent occasions in his apartment building, he’s had “racist, scared white people jump” when they saw him. Adesanya said that he smiled and stepped to the side to let them pass through “just so they don’t get scared when they see me. Why? Because I’m black.”
The middleweight champion continued, “Just because I’m black. What did I do? I didn’t have a choice. If I had a choice, would I still be black?” Adesanya nodded.
The Last Stylebender said, “We’ve been marching for so long. But it’s not just about us now. Shout out to all the white people, all the people of different races being here because we need you. We need you to speak up. We need you to say something.”
He said, “I’m sick and tired of seeing those faces get killed because guess what, I see myself in them.” Adesanya finished his speech by saying, “We squashed this COVID curve right? They’re trying to militarize the New Zealand police, let’s squash that sh*t straight away.”
ESPN shared photos of Adesanya during the protest:
Adesanya Last Stepped Into the Octagon During UFC 248 When He Defeated Yoel Romero
The Last Stylebender stepped into the Octagon on March 7 and defended his middleweight title for the first time. He took on Yoel “Soldier of God” Romero in a highly-anticipated bout. However, the fight did not live up to expectations, and the affair lacked action.
It was contested mostly on the fight but very few blows were exchanged. The five went all five rounds, and Adesanya was declared victorious by unanimous decision. He improved his professional mixed martial arts record to 19-0 and his UFC record to 8-0.
It is likely that Adesanya will be scheduled to defend his belt against No. 2 ranked middleweight Paulo Costa next.