Report: Israel Adesanya Loses Major BMW Sponsorship Over Rape Comment

UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya was set to be the face of BMW New Zealand, but reportedly no more.

BMW New Zealand has dropped Adesanya as the face of their new marketing campaign, according to Australian outlet Nine. The new campaign was reportedly set to unveil on Monday. The decision was made following Adesanya's Instagram Story earlier this week where he told Kevin Holland, "Bro, I will fuckin' rape you."

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"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," BMW said in a statement to the publication.

Adesanya's video was taken down and he issued an apology on Thursday.

"Last weekend fight talk escalated to a point in which I crossed the line. 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," Adesanya said. "I am still to growing under the spotlight, and I take this is as a lesson to be more selective with words under pressure."

His apology came after Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand Grant Robertson condemned Adesanya's language.

"I'm sure Israel understands that. I believe he has deleted the tweet in question. It will be up to the UFC as to what they do," Robertson told Radio New Zealand. "But I would certainly be making clear to him, and to anybody actually, that we have to take rape seriously. It's not an issue that anyone should be making jokes or flippant comments about at all."

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