Las Vegas, NV — Ahead of his UFC 276 media day appearance, Israel Adesanya received his honorary USADA jacket for 50 clean tests under the UFC’s anti-doping program.
He was sure to add a dig at another UFC star, though he didn’t mention him by name. “You’ll never find me under the cage, I’m always in there fighting,” the middleweight champion said, after proclaiming that he’d “never hidden anywhere.”
But he has come under the gun, subject to unfounded rumors of steroid use following what Adesanya himself refers to as “Tittygate” a few years back.
“They just need to find excuses to take away my greatness. And I understand that this is what people are supposed to do, so I let them,” Adesanya later said of his detractors. He then made an impressive offer. “Look, I will give three million dollars to anyone who could ever have concrete evidence that I even know what the f*ck I’m doing with steroids or know how to take steroids. I promise you, alright, three million dollars if you can find anyone who has concrete evidence that I’ve ever even purchased, touched, or done any kind of performance enhancing drugs or whatever.”
Adesanya went on to say that the bulk of his steroid knowledge came from watching the documentary Icarus. “That’s how much I know about steroids, from that documentary. It opened my eyes, it shocked me. So yeah, three million dollars for anyone who can find any concrete evidence that I’ve been using performance enhancing drugs.”
“Pull up. This is easy. It’s easy to talk and type online,” added Adesanya, who admitted that the accusations on social media got to him following his fight against Paulo Costa. “I had a f*cking spectacular performance, and I’m like, how the f*ck are you going to try to take that away with accusations based on nothing? So I’m like yeah, pull up. Show me what’s up. Three million. I know you don’t have that in the bank. I do.”
And that’s Adesanya for you. Confident. Brash. Self-Assured and then some. And generally three steps ahead of the game.
The confident side has been in full swing this week. Asked Wednesday if he felt Jared Cannonier, topping the show against “The Last Stylebender” atop UFC 276 on Saturday, was a danger to him, Adesanya answered “I don’t feel so.”
“I don’t feel so. I feel like he poses a danger the same way all my past opponents posed dangerous threats. But they keep talking about power, power, power. You ever heard that before when someone fights me?” Adesanya questioned. “It’s power, ‘power this, power that.’ It’s the same old song. F*cking get it off repeat, get me a new song. I’m just glad I have a new blood to fight in this fight. So yeah, it’s time to eat.”
And then Adesanya was looking forward to a potential match-up with Alex Pereira. While the media brought the subject up, Israel Adesanya has already looked ahead. He knows there’s a reason his old kickboxing rival features prominently on the UFC 276 card. It’s all about that next marketing push.
So, while Adesanya believes Pereira is riding his coattails, “because the guy supposedly beat me in kickboxing, and he’s still trying to chase me because I’m the one winning in life,” he also appreciates the story being told. “And I like that story, like you said. It’s the story we’re telling ourselves, and the arc in the story’s going to be beautiful if [Pereira] gets past Sean Strickland.”
Making the comparison to a recently crowned UFC champ, “Jiri [Prochazka], light heavyweight champ, only three fights in the UFC but an extensive record in MMA. This guy’s only had like four, five fights, something crazy,” observed Adesanya. “So you know what they’re [the UFC] doing, but I like this, because I get to take him out early. He’s gonna get good, but not right now.”
As for the performance he intends to put on this Saturday? In a word, big. “Super Bowl, WrestleMania, that kind of big.”
Watch the full UFC 276 media day appearance by Israel Adesanya above. The event takes place this Saturday, July 2, 2022 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV.