Former undisputed UFC middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya, has reportedly been arrested at JFK International Airport in Queens, New York this Wednesday evening, with the City Kickboxing striker alleged to have been in possession of brass knuckles.
Adesanya, the current #1 ranked middleweight contender under the UFC banner, headlined UFC 281 last weekend at Madison Square Garden in the state, suffering a fifth round standing TKO loss against challenger, Alex Pereira, dropping his undisputed middleweight crown.
According to an initial report from TMZ Sports, Adesanya, 33, was arrested by the Port Authority Police Department at 1:57 PM E.T. this Wednesday afternoon, near the American Airlines terminal and TSA screening area.
The report details how Israel Adesanya was allegedly in possession of brass knuckles while attempting to move through security checks at the airport. Brass knuckles are illegal in the state of New York, and are classed as a class A misdemeanor. Carrying such an object on your person or concealed is also prohibited.
At the time of publication, it is unknown if Israel Adesanya will be issued with a Desk Appearance Ticket, or if he will be held in police custody. If convicted, Adesanya could face a period of up to a year in jail, a monetary fine, or both.
Israel Adesanya claimed he almost withdrew from his UFC 281 headliner
Explaining how he was almost ruled from his UFC 281 main event grudge match with Pereira, Adesanya revealed post-fight how he had suffered a PCL injury in the run-up to their Madison Square Garden title fight.
“Breaking news – I was gonna pull out of this fight early on,” Israel Adesanya said. “Last time I fought in New York, [UFC] 230, I was gonna pull out of that fight [with Derek Brunson], with three weeks left. But then with – Brunson, with my knee, this knee [slaps right knee], but I hand cortisone injection, I took a whole five days off, nothing, no nothing, five days off. And then it just got better. …”
“This time, from the last fight with (Jared) Cannonier, I hurt my PCL, and that’s the thing that keeps your knee from going backwards,” Israel Adesanya continued. “Early in camp, I had some problems, so there was – how many weeks? Maybe like three weeks, I just did boxing – boxing and grappling, no kicking. … I was gonna pull out early on, but I was like, ‘Nah, I wanna get this done.’ I’m a prideful man. I’ll be damned if people say I’m scared of this guy (Alex Pereira), because I know I’m not.”
Adesanya’s manager, Tim Simpson, has since released an official statement off the back of TMZ Sports’ initial report, detailing how the former middleweight champion is already “on his way home” having “cooperated with authorities”.
“Israel was handed a gift by a fan, which he put in his luggage,” The statement read. “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 is on his way way home.”
This report was updated at 10:28 p.m. GMT to reflect Tim Simpson’s statement release