This past weekend at UFC 281, Adesanya had his reign on the 185-pound throne ended after five successful title defenses. Looking to make his sixth at Madison Square Garden, “The Last Stylebender” was stopped in the final round by Alex Pereira, marking his third loss to the Brazilian in combat sports.
But while a first defeat at middleweight and the absence of gold that he’d held since 2019 marked a difficult event for Adesanya, he appeared to experience some further struggles as he attempted to leave the United States and head home.
On Wednesday, TMZ reported that the former UFC titleholder had been arrested at JFK airport for possession of brass knuckles, which is illegal in the state of New York. Adesanya was said to have been taken into custody by the Port Authority Police Department near the TSA screening area.
Although it was initially reported that he was still in custody, Adesanya’s manager later cleared up the incident in a statement, insisting that the illegal item was a gift from a fan, and once disposed of, he boarded his flight back to New Zealand.
Adesanya Focuses On UFC 281 setback
On Thursday, Adesanya released his first post on social media since news of the arrest and subsequent release emerged.
Ever since his latest setback against Pereira, the Nigerian-New Zealander has cut a gracious and upbeat figure. That trend continued as Adesanya posted an inspirational quote he’d been gifted by Muhammad Ali’s team.
With the comment, the legendary boxer explains the fast nature of the news cycle, with losses quickly being forgotten about should the defeated individual handle it appropriately.
“The past can be a great teacher.” – Aang 🍃 Got this gift from the greatest of all time’s team,” Adesanya wrote. “The compliments I got from them about dealing with this weekend filled me with pride. Thank you for this gift oh great one. I will always be inspired by your spirit, forever. 😚 #MuhammadAli 🐐”
While Adesanya mentioned this past weekend in his caption, thanking Ali’s team for how they helped him deal with his setback, the quote also perhaps applies to his recent arrest in New York, talk of which will no doubt disperse in the coming days and weeks.
What have you made of Israel Adesanya’s handling of his defeat at UFC 281?