Israel Adesanya Honored With New Zealand Sportsman Of The Year Award

Israel Adesanya
Photo via Instagram @stylebender

Israel Adesanya Gets Awarded And Gives Amazing Acceptance Speech

For a lot of people, Israel Adesanya was the 2019 Fighter of the Year. However, he recieved an arguably much bigger award, by being donned New Zealand’s Sportsman of the Year.

Adesanya has had quite the run in his short UFC tenure. The majority of this meteoric rise occurred in 2018, but the biggest achievements came in 2019. It was here, that he won the interim belt in an all-time classic, then unified that by battering Robert Whittaker. As a result, he was a true breakout star for the year.

Following this incredible year, Adesanya was looked at in high esteem. He was many news outlet’s Fighter of the Year, because of his amazing efforts and breakout ability. Although it seems likely that this accomplishment was nothing compared to one he just received in his backyard of New Zealand. He was honored with the New Zealand Sportsman of the Year award, and presented with it at the ISPS Handa Halberg Awards, at the Spark Arena.

This is a video of his acceptance speech:

“It’s the 57th annual Halberg’s. It’s the first time combat athletes have been nominated so you know, I have to do this for the old, the combat athletes of old. Rest in Peace Jimmy Thunder, David Tua, Doug Viney sitting right there, Ray Sefo, Joseph Parker, and now Israel Adesanya.

“Kiwis, we love a good one out. We love a good fight, this is part of the culture. Straight up. I mean, we’re a country of a warrior race, the Maori. This is part of our culture. If a fight broke out right now, what would you all do? You’d ignore me and you’d watch the fight. It’s in our DNA. We’ve been doing this for so long, you guys have no idea. Welcome to the party. We’ve been doing this for so long, like I said.

“Way back, we’ve been wearing New Zealand on our back all over the world. We did it twice last year in Australia, UFC 234 and UFC 243, me and two of my other teammates, we repeated the three-peat. And guess what, next weekend we have other people coming to our shores at UFC Auckland and we’re gonna defend the land, and repeat the three-peat. Understand this.

“So for me, this really isn’t for me. This is for like, the young generation coming up who get to see someone they can relate to, someone who is of my essence, if you will. A combat athlete that they can feel like, ‘Man, my sport,you know  like Muay Thai or Jiu-Jitsu or Wrestling is up there with the All-Blacks, the Black Caps, and the Tall Blacks and New Zealand’s top sporting teams. We’re on a level playing field.

“Like I said, we’ve been doing this for a long time, so this is for them, and this is for my team, City Kickboxing. This is for my coach, Eugene Bareman, because without him my career wouldn’t be s–t, I wouldn’t be here. Understand that. And one more thing I’ve got say, also shout out to Ash from Engage, I see you.

One thing we need to do right now, I really need to say this. New Zealand we have this f– Uh, woo, censorship! Where’s the swear jar? Nah, f–k it. We have this culture of tall puppy syndrome which is messed up. Coming up in this country, I’ve seen it so many times. When you see somebody rising you want to tear them down because you feel inadequate and you want to call it humble. I am extraordinarily humble, believe me, but you’ll never know that because you never get to know me. Understand this, if you see one of us shining, whether it be the netball team, the Black Caps, the Sailors, pump them up! Embrace them! Because if they win, we win, if I win, you win! Understand that.

“And I know some of you will be a little salty, you might clap but you’re a little salty, but hey, stay salty, the Black Kiwi’s gonna fly all day. Shout out to myself in this mustard-colored jacket and shout out to the guy with the mustard colored face as well. Peace!”

Congratulations to Israel Adesanya for winning this massive award!

He delivered an excellent speech, which the crowd loved. It just goes to show how big of a star Izzy is turning out to be, especially in his homeland.

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