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UFC's Israel Adesanya Apologizes for Saying He'll Rape Kevin Holland

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 25, 2021

FILE - In this Feb. 10, 2019, file photo, Nigeria's Israel Adesanya poses as he fights Brazil's Anderson Silva in their middleweight bout at the UFC 234 mixed martial arts fights in Melbourne, Australia. Adesanya challenges champion Jan Blachowicz of Poland for the light heavyweight title in the main event of UFC 259 on Saturday in Las Vegas.  (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill, File)
Andy Brownbill/Associated Press

UFC star Israel Adesanya apologized Thursday after saying he'd "f--king rape" fellow fighter Kevin Holland while trash-talking him in a video. 

Adesanya issued a statement Thursday saying he "crossed the line" and that he'd "take this as a lesson to be more selective with words under pressure."

Per The Guardian's Tess McClure, the 31-year-old made the comment in a since-deleted Instagram video.

The Nigerian-born Adesanya currently resides in New Zealand, and his remarks caught the attention of New Zealand deputy prime minister Grant Robertson.

"We have to take rape seriously," Robertson said, per McClure. "It's not an issue that anyone should be making jokes or flippant comments about at all."

Holland presumably drew the ire of Adesanya when he told reporters ahead of UFC on ESPN 21 he thought the middleweight champion was using performance-enhancing drugs. He also spoke disparagingly of Adesanya and said members of the media should "stop riding his d--k so hard."

This isn't the first time Adesanya made a public apology for going too far while needling another fighter. He said Yoel Romero, his opponent at UFC 248, would "crumble like the Twin Towers." He said later he was "simply rambling" and that he'd "be more careful in future with my words."