BMW has dropped Kiwi UFC superstar Israel Adesanya as an ambassador following his comments about rape.
Adesanya was due to be unveiled as the new face of the BMW New Zealand on Monday, the same day as the launch of the new BMW M3 and M4 models.
However, the offensive comments Adesanya made earlier this week on social media -threatening to rape a fellow UFC fighter Kevin Holland – have landed him in hot water.
“Bro, I will f….n rape you,” Adesanya said as part of what he perceived as “fight talk.”
In a statement to the Herald, BMW said, “Due to the comments made by an athlete online, we have reviewed our pending association with the said athlete and we have decided not to push forward with a specific ambassador for the brand at this time in New Zealand.”
Adesanya’s stock has risen immensely in the public sphere in recent years, becoming one of UFC’s biggest stars. He has gained a 20-0 record in the middleweight division for which he is champion in and was named Sportsman of the Year at the 2019 Halberg awards.
Earlier on Friday, Adesanya apologised for the comment on Instagram, which has since been deleted.
“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 growing under the spotlight, and I take this as a lesson to be more selective with words under pressure.”