Israel Adesanya © Jasmin Frank-USA TODAY Sports

Israel Adesanya makes passionate speech at Black Lives Matter rally

"Because I’m black. Just because I’m black. What did I do? I didn’t have a choice."

Speaking at a Black Lives Matter protest in Auckland, New Zealand, Israel Adesanya opened his heart to the masses. 

The murder of unarmed African-American man George Floyd by American police officers has sparked outrage and sadness all over the world. Jon Jones has taken to the streets of Albuquerque to quell unrest and prevent looting. Conor McGregor took a stand against racism in a public message on social media. Now UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya has taken part in a Black Lives Matter rally in Auckland, New Zealand,  speaking directly from the heart.

A visibly and audibly emotional Adesanya spoke to the crowd about his own, but also shared experiences to that of people of colour.

“I’m pissed off,” Adesanya told the crowd. “Wait, hold up. How many of you walk into a store and have to put your hands behind your back just so they don’t think you’re stealing? How many of you walk down the street and have to kind of smile and try to make you see the person who already is scared of you, you make them feel comfortable?”

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The middleweight champ also added that he’s encounter latent racism and bothering looks from people around him since moving to a new area.

“I just moved to a spot,” Adesanya said. “I’m at the top. I go in the elevator, three times already I’ve had to have racist, sacred white people jump when they see me, so I smile at them. So now I gotta go to the side and let them walk through just so they don’t get scared when they see me.

“Why? Because I’m black. Just because I’m black. What did I do? I didn’t have a choice. If I had a choice, I’d still be black.”

Adesanya ended his speech with a message of unity. Throughout this ordeal people of all backgrounds and races have united to protest racism and injustice. The middleweight champ acknowledged this and tanked everyone for their support.

“We’ve been talking for so long, we’ve been marching for so long, but it’s not about us now,” Adesanya said. “Shoutout to all the white people, all the people of different races being here, because we need you. We need you to speak up. We need you to say something, because like he said, I’m sick and tired of seeing those face get killed because, guess what, I see myself in them. And it’s heartbreaking. man. I’m pissed off.”

While much violence and vandalism has broken out since the protests over racism and police brutality started, messages of unity like that which Adesanya is spreading is more needed than ever.

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With roots in muay thai and as an avid combat sports fan, Sebastian Vendel-Martinez grew up while the MMA scene was blossoming in Sweden. He became part of the MMAnytt team in 2012 and has gone on to become one of the most prominent MMA reporters in Scandinavia. Currently he continues to work as a writer, reporter, video producer/editor and head editor for