Israel Adesanya, the former UFC middleweight champion, has admitted guilt in a “drink-driving” case in New Zealand, just three weeks before his last UFC fight. The incident took place in Auckland, New Zealand, and Adesanya, 34, appeared at the Auckland District Court on Monday morning to address the charge.
While driving on Wellesley St. in Auckland, Israel Adesanya faced a charge for registering a blood alcohol level of 87 milligrams per 100 milliliters, surpassing New Zealand’s legal limit of 50 milligrams.
Expressing profound remorse in a statement shared with NZ Herald, Adesanya apologized to his community, family, and team for the ill-fated decision to drive after a dinner that involved alcohol. He recounted being pulled over and subjected to an evidentiary blood test, which revealed the elevated alcohol level.
This incident unfolded on August 19, a few weeks before his middleweight title fight against Sean Strickland on September 9, serving as the headline event of UFC 293 held in Sydney, Australia.
“I am disappointed with my decision to drive; it was wrong,” Adesanya admitted in his statement. “I know that people might follow me, and I want them to know I do not think this behavior is acceptable.”
The maximum penalty for this charge stands at either three months imprisonment or a fine of $4,500 NZD, with Adesanya’s lawyer, Karl Trotter, successfully persuading the judge not to enter a conviction. Adesanya’s sentencing is scheduled for January 10, 2024.