German vehicle manufacturer, BMW has dropped current UFC middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya as a brand ambassador following his flippant rape comment aimed at middleweight contender, Kevin Holland earlier this week.
The manufacturer was set to unveil Adesanya as the official brand ambassador for BMW in New Zealand on Monday coming, however, in the wake of the incident, have elected to shelve those plans. In a statement released, BMW addressed the ongoing issue.
“Due to the comments made by an athlete (Israel Adesanya) 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.” The statement read.
Replying to recent insulting comments made by UFC Vegas 22 headliner, Holland on a since-deleted Instagram story, Adesanya responded; “Bro, I will f*cking rape you“.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for sport in New Zealand, Grant Robertson addressed the recent comment made by Adesanya, detailing how flippant comments about rape should never be made.
“We have to take rape seriously, it’s not an issue that anyone should be making jokes or flippant comments about at all,” Robertson said during an interview with Radio New Zealand. “I’m sure Israel (Adesanya) understands that, I believe he has deleted the tweet (sic) in question. It will be up to the UFC as to what they do.“
In a statement released by Adesanya yesterday, the City Kickboxing mainstay apologized for the comment.
“Last weekend fight talk escalated to a point in which I crossed the line,” Adesanya wrote on his official Twitter. “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 (sic) under the spotlight, and I take this as a lesson to be selective with words under pressure.“
In his most recent Octagon appearance, Adesanya headlined UFC 259 at the beginning of March, suffering his first professional loss in a light heavyweight championship fight against Jan Blachowicz.
As of writing, the UFC has yet to address the comment made by Adesanya, and it’s currently unknown if he will face any disciplinary action.