Israel Adesanya reflects on Sean Strickland’s massive fanbase in Australia at UFC 293: ‘They’re racist!”

By Curtis Calhoun - April 12, 2024

Former UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya feels that Sean Strickland’s support in Australia was racially motivated.

Israel Adesanya, Sean Strickland

Adesanya lost the UFC middleweight title to Strickland at UFC 293 in September. It’s regarded as one of the biggest upsets in UFC history, just months after Adesanya knocked out Alex Pereira to regain the belt.

Adesanya is locked in on a return to the UFC Octagon in 2024, although an exact timeframe for his next fight is uncertain. He could potentially be Dricus du Plessis’ first title defense after du Plessis defeated Strickland at UFC 297.

Adesanya, for the first time since UFC 293, has opened up on what went wrong against Strickland and the experience of fight week. Some were surprised by the massive support that Strickland had in Australia, despite Adesanya training in nearby New Zealand.

Israel Adesanya calls Australians ‘racist’ over Sean Strickland support


During a recent appearance on The MMA Hour, Adesanya was asked if the reception that Strickland received in Australia was surprising.

“Nah, they’re racists,” Adesanya said. “I think it was just me, them, it wasn’t my week. It was just him. He knows how to pander. He’s a great politician, I’ll put it that way. It was just his week, his moment to shine, and what a reign!”

As of this writing, Strickland hasn’t responded to Adesanya’s claims, although it could be a matter of time until he does.

Including UFC 293, Adesanya has fought in Australia on four occasions in his UFC tenure. He made his UFC debut at UFC 221, defeating Rob Wilkinson by TKO in Perth.

Adesanya went on to headline three other Australia-based cards, including against UFC Hall of Famer Anderson Silva at UFC 234. He defeated Robert Whittaker for the lineal UFC middleweight title in Melbourne at UFC 243.

Strickland has been open about his family history of neo-Nazi ideology during his UFC tenure. Despite some of his controversies outside of the cage, he’s become one of the UFC’s fan favorites.

A rematch between Adesanya and Strickland could potentially happen down the line, and it sounds like if it was the former champion’s choice, he would prefer not to fight in Australia.

This article appeared first on BJPENN.COM


Israel Adesanya Sean Strickland UFC