Nigerian UFC fighter, Israel Adesanya has been dropped as an ambassador for BMW after threatening to rape his opponent.
The Nigerian-New Zealander who was to be unveiled as the face of BMW in New Zealand, had told possible future opponent Kevin Holland in an online video, “Bro, I will fu**ing rape you.”
Following the video, a statement from BMW said that after a careful review of the comments he made online, it decided not to push forward with the pending deal it had with the UFC champion.
Their 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.”
Reacting to BMW’s statement, Israel Adesanya apologized for his behavior in a short tweet he shared online: “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 expressed his disappointment in Adesanya.
Robertson 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.”