You Won’t Believe Why Former UFC Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya Was Arrested

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Former UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya was recently arrested in New York. “The Last Stylebender” was arrested Wednesday at JFK Airport for possessing brass knuckles. The incident came days after his weekend loss at UFC 281 to Alex Pereira.

The man who makes a living from using his fists, elbows, knees, and feet to bring damage to people as a prizefighter was not intentionally carrying the weapon; it was an impromptu gift from a fan. Brass knuckles are illegal in New York, and possession is considered a Class A misdemeanor; although TSA rules allow brass knuckles to be stored in checked luggage, they have banned passengers from possessing them in carry-on bags.

“Israel was handed a gift by a fan, which he put in his luggage,” said Tim Simpson, manager of Adesanya. “When flagged at the airport, Israel quickly disposed of the item and cooperated with authorities. He has complied accordingly. With that, the matter was dismissed and he’s on his way home.”

Adesanya was reportedly given a desk appearance ticket, a written notice from a police officer to appear in court at a future date. Possession of the weapon, either plastic or metal, is considered a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison plus fines in New York. Adesanya lives in Auckland, New Zealand, a long way from New York City, where he lost his title in Madison Square Garden as the main event of the pay-per-view fight.

After losing to Alex Pereira twice during his extensive kickboxing career, the former champ went 0-3 across all combat sports when he lost via fifth-round KO to Pereira. After the loss, the UFC poster boy reflected on the fight.

“Whats the emotion? I’m grateful — what a life, what a moment,” Adesanya said at the post-fight press conference. “F***ing crazy ending. Similar to the last time, same story. It’s crazy. But yeah, I was fine. The first thing I said to Eugene [Bareman, his coach] or the ref was I was fine. I was lucid, I was in there. But yeah, s**t happens. I talked to my coaches and I trust them [that the stoppage was legit], but I was fine. I could see everything, my eyes might have rolled back a little bit, but I was lucid.

“I’m grateful, I’m proud, my team’s proud of me,” he added. “Respectfully, f**k all this s**t, f**k everybody else. It’s all about my team.

”I’ve been doing this; this is my third fight in 10 months,” Adesanya continued. “Every time I fight, I risk losing what you guys deem as the prestigious, which it is; the belt and all that s**t. But I put it on the line because I’m not trying to just fight once and then chill, do my lap around and parade as the champion and not risk so much. So, yeah, I put it on the line, and this is what happens when you dare to be great. And I am.”

UFC president Dana White has floated the idea of a rematch between the two for a chance to regain his title immediately.

Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. Rhett hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.