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Midnight Mania! Israel Adesanya speaks at Black Lives Matter rally in Auckland, New Zealand

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UFC 248 Adesanya v Romero Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Welcome to Midnight Mania!

The death of George Floyd last week at the hands of Minneapolis police has ignited the nation in debate, protest, and quite literal flames. Last week, dozens of UFC fighters posted online to offer their prospective and stand against injustice, but now martial artists are taking a more active role.

In an example of the many protests beyond the borders of the United States, there was a Black Lives Matter rally just outside the US Embassy in Auckland, New Zealand today. UFC Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya gave a speech at the rally and expressed his outrage.

“I’m pissed off,” Adesanya told the crowd (transcription via MMAJunkie). “Wait, hold up. How many of you walk into a store and have to put your hands behind your back just so they don’t think you’re stealing? How many of you walk down the street and have to kind of smile and try to make you see the person who already is scared of you, you make them feel comfortable?”

“I just moved to a spot,” Adesanya said. “I’m at the top. I go in the elevator, three times already I’ve had to have racist, scared white people jump when they see me, so I smile at them. So now I gotta go to the side and let them walk through just so they don’t get scared when they see me. Why? Because I’m black. Just because I’m black. What did I do? I didn’t have a choice. If I had a choice, I’d still be black.”

“Stylebender” continued onto talk about just fatiguing — yet important — it is to continue on fighting injustice.

“We’ve been talking for so long, we’ve been marching for so long, but it’s not about us now,” Adesanya said. “Shoutout to all the white people, all the people of different races being here, because we need you. We need you to speak up. We need you to say something, because like he said, I’m sick and tired of seeing those face get killed because, guess what, I see myself in them. And it’s heartbreaking, man. I’m pissed off.”

As tension and violence continues to escalate around the country, expect more UFC athletes to take more active roles in rallies and protests.

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