LAS VEGAS – Israel Adesanya may have brushed off steroid accusations at the time, but it turns out he didn’t take them lightly after all.
Gynecomastia is a medical condition that occurs sometimes as a result of steroid use. So when UFC 253 opponent Paulo Costa and other MMA fans began to call out Adesanya’s gynecomastia, accusations became more populous – an influx he now refers to simply as “Tittygate.” Through it all, Adesanya denied and kept a level head. He had his swollen breast checked by a physician to make sure there were no health issues.
Fast forward nearly two years later to the UFC 276 pre-fight news conference held Wednesday and Adesanya indicated the accusations are still something he hears – and it bugs him. He sees it as a mechanism by which haters and doubters try to discredit him.
In order to combat and disprove what he calls baseless accusations, Adesanya challenged anyone who has proof of his intentional steroid use to come forward and let the world know. If they do, Adesanya promised to make them a multimillionaire.
“When you’re great, they talk about ‘Tittygate,’” Adesanya told MMA Junkie and other reporters. “At the same time, I’m like, ‘How the f*ck?’ They just need to find excuses to take away my greatness. I understand this is what people are supposed to do, so I let them. Look, I will give $3 million to anyone who can ever have concrete evidence that I even know what the f*ck I’m doing with steroids or how to take steroids. I promise you… $3 million if you can find anyone who has concrete evidence that I’ve ever even purchased, touched, or done any kind of performance-enhancing drugs or whatever. I watched Icarus. That’s how much I know about steroids, from that documentary. It opened my eyes. It shocked me.
“So yeah, $3 million for anyone who can ever find any concrete evidence that I’ve been using performance-enhancing drugs. Pull up. This is easy. It’s easy to talk and type online, but really it got to me a little after the Costa fight. I was like, ‘These f*cking c*nts are just trying to take away my greatness, because I had a f*cking spectacular performance.’ I’m like, ‘How the f*ck are you trying to take that away with accusations based on nothing.’ I’m like, yeah, pull up. Show me what’s up. Three million. I know you don’t have that in the bank. I do.”
Adesanya, 32, takes on Jared Cannonier (15-5 MMA, 8-5 UFC) in the UFC 276 main event Saturday at T-Mobile Arena. The event streams on ESPN+ pay-per-view after prelims on MMA Junkie. If Adesanya wins, it’ll mark his fifth title defense as undisputed champion.
Photos: Israel Adesanya through the years