Israel Adesanya has issued an apology for his ‘rape’ comments aimed at Kevin Holland which have resulted in him losing a sponsorship deal with BMW.
The UFC middleweight champion was in line to be the ‘face of BMW New Zealand’, but the company have reportedly decided to scrap the idea after his comments last weekend.
Adesanya said he ‘will f****ing’ rape’ Holland in an Instagram video, which he since deleted, with the rivalry between the pair reaching a new low.
According to Australian TV network Nine, he has since lost his potentially lucrative deal with the car manufacturer.
A statement read: “Due to the comments made by an athlete online, we have reviewed our pending association with said athlete and we have decided not to push forward with a specific ambassador for the brand at this time in New Zealand.”
In a short statement he shared on Twitter, the 185-pound UFC champ said: “Last weekend fight talk escalated to a point in which I crossed the line.
“I understand the gravity of this word and how it can affect and hurt other people apart from my opponent, although that was NEVER my intention.
“I am still to growing under the spotlight, and I take this as a lesson to be more selective with words under pressure.”
New Zealand’s Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson – who is also the sports minister – blasted the middleweight champ and urged the UFC to consider taking action.
He said: “There is never a time to make flippant comments about rape. It’s just not something anybody should do.
“I’m sure Israel understands that. I believe he has deleted the tweet in question. It will be up to the UFC as to what they do.
“But I would certainly be making clear to him, and to anybody actually, that we have to take rape seriously.
“It’s not an issue that anyone should be making jokes or flippant comments about at all.”