UFC’s Israel Adesanya Fights on His Terms
New Zealander Israel Adesanya has cleared out most of his challengers and has faced criticism for some fights lacking flashy knockouts. “It’s a high-level game we play, but not everyone who watches is high-level,” he tells New York Times journalist Emmanuel Morgan.
Adesanya’s rise came at a time when the UFC was expanding its business and fan base. The promotion in 2018 signed a new media rights deal with ESPN, which offered more prominent exposure for athletes, Morgan writes.
Nairobi-born Adesanya, 33, has enjoyed the benefits. He signed a new contract with the UFC in February, and celebrities like Drake have publicly supported him before his fights.
“People just expect, when you’re as great as I am, they just expect you to always show out and show off,” Adesanya said. “I think that’s just what society does – they build you up so they can tear you down.”
Original article by Emmanuel Morgan, The New York Times, November 11, 2022.
Photo by Mohamed Sadek.