Israel Adesanya, Nigerian-New Zealander mixed martial artist, has been chalked off an endorsement deal with Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW) over an insensitive comment about rape.
Adesanya was due to be announced BMW ambassador in New Zealand this week, but the automobile company has pulled the plug on the deal.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight champion, earlier this week, released a controversial video on social media where he made an unsavory outburst against Kelvin Holland, a fellow UFC fighter.
The Nigerian had threatened to “rape” Holland in what he perceived to be a “fight talk”.
But according to New Zealand Herald, BMW, in a statement on Friday, announced its effective disassociation from the champion.
“Due to the comments made by an athlete 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.
Adesanya has since deleted the video while issuing an apology on social media for the misconduct.
“Last weekend fight talk escalated to a point in which I crossed the line,” he wrote.
“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 growing under the spotlight, and I take this as a lesson to be more selective with words under pressure.”
— Israel Adesanya (@stylebender) March 25, 2021
The 31-year-old failed in his last bout to become UFC light heavyweight champion after losing to Jan Blachowicz via a unanimous decision.
He, however, remains the UFC middleweight champion with a couple of successful title defenses under his belt.