Israel Adesanya says he’ll never fight in his home country of New Zealand ever again.

The UFC middleweight champion has slammed the country’s “bureaucrats” for not allowing MMA fighters such as his teammate Dan Hooker to properly prepare for upcoming events due to strict COVID-19 lockdown rules.

‘Stylebender’ revealed he will never fight in New Zealand again after City Kickboxing’s makeshift bubble was disbanded by police, forcing Hooker to train at home for his UFC 266 fight with Nasrat Hasquarat.

“You will never see me fight in New Zealand ever again,” Adesanya said in a video posted to his YouTube channel. “All that money, they can get it from somewhere else. Their rugbys, their crickets and all the others they’re giving exemptions to, but you will never ever see me fight on these shores [again]. That was one of my dreams, to headline a stadium in my backyard. That dream’s dead in the water … that’s just the way I feel right now.”

The MMA icon hit out at journalists who have been using their essential worker status to spy on City Kickboxing and take photos of Hooker, Brad Riddell, and coach Eugene Bareman during training.

“That pissed me off,” Adesanya said. “It’s like ‘really, this is what you’re using your privilege to do?’ The constant effort to stifle, to break up, to disrupt our team at City Kickboxing from helping team captain Dan ‘Hangman’ Hooker for getting ready for his fight, that’s pissed me off the most.”

Adesanya says he wouldn’t be surprised if it was him getting this type of treatment because New Zealand is a “racist” country but admits he’s surprised by the way Hooker has been treated.

“He talks too much, he’s not humble enough, he doesn’t represent us Kiwis,” Adesanya mimicked people saying. “They’re racists, some of them are f***ing racists. Of course they don’t want a black boy representing New Zealand. But you’re doing this to Dan Hangman Hooker.” (Transcribed by New Zealand Herald)

Do you think Israel Adesanya will ever fight in New Zealand again?

A lifelong fight fan from Liverpool, England who has been covering mixed martial arts (MMA) and boxing for several years. Follow @JordanEllisUK on Twitter for all the latest fight news, views, interviews and live event coverage.