UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya has spoken out at a Black Lives Matter protest in Auckland.
“The Last Stylebender” is known for being outspoken, and he isn’t scared to speak on topics outside of the MMA circuit. That includes the devastating killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers in America last week. His passing has ignited debate and protest over police brutality and the treatment of black citizens in the country.
Last week, dozens of UFC fighters sent messages of support to George Floyd’s family and protesters. Israel Adesanya took a more active role as he spoke at a Black Lives Matter rally just outside the US Embassy in Auckland, New Zealand. See his speech below.
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“I’m pissed off,” Adesanya told the crowd (transcript via MMAJunkie). “Wait, hold up. How many of you walk into a store and have to put your hands behind your back just so they don’t think you’re stealing? How many of you walk down the street and have to kind of smile and try to make you see the person who already is scared of you, you make them feel comfortable?”
Despite being at the top of his game, Adesanya revealed that he still experiences racism. He also called on all races to stand up and fight the cause.
“I just moved to a spot,” Adesanya said. “I’m at the top. I go in the elevator, three times already I’ve had to have racist, scared white people jump when they see me, so I smile at them. So now I gotta go to the side and let them walk through just so they don’t get scared when they see me. Why? Because I’m black. Just because I’m black. What did I do? I didn’t have a choice. If I had a choice, I’d still be black.
“We’ve been talking for so long, we’ve been marching for so long, but it’s not about us now,” Adesanya added. “Shoutout to all the white people, all the people of different races being here, because we need you. We need you to speak up. We need you to say something, because like he said, I’m sick and tired of seeing those face get killed because, guess what, I see myself in them. And it’s heartbreaking, man. I’m pissed off.”