Due to stringent lockdown measures in Australia and New Zealand, middleweight champion Israel Adesanya refuses to fight in his home country now.
While “The Last Stylebender” was calling for a title defense in Auckland, NZ., those intentions have changed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Australia and New Zealand are known for enacting ‘snap lockdowns’ even if just a few new COVID-19 cases are discovered in the region. The limitation caused by these measures has canceled countless fights. In fact, the lightweight battle between Dan Hooker and Nasrat Haqparast was directly affected by the lockdown measures.
Early this week, it looked as though both fighters would not make it to Las Vegas, NV., due to lingering visa issues, but in the end, they got their visas and will make the event in the eleventh hour. With all of the chaos amidst the restrictions, UFC middleweight champion Adesanya is adamant that he will not fight in his home country in response to the perceived mistreatment he has gone through.
“You will never see me fight in New Zealand ever again,” Adesanya said in a video he posted on YouTube (via NZ Herald). “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. 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… F**k these c***s, I don’t respect them for what they are doing to my boy.”
City Kickboxing has mentioned that the police have shut down their gym operation several times now which continues to inhibit Adesanya’s championship training.
While many were hopeful that a super fight in New Zealand/Australia would happen between Robert Whittaker, it appears the middleweight champion has poured cold water on the potential idea of it happening on home turf.
Do you agree with Adesanya’s decision to not fight in his home country?