UFC legend Israel Adesanya is advocating for a UFC event in Nigeria, but admits that corruption and red tape are major problems.
following UFC 281, UFC President Dana White was adamant he is “so focused” on making UFC Africa happen, and Adesanya agrees that despite having two fewer belts at the moment, UFC Africa still needs to happen.
“No -f*** no,” Adesanya said on The MMA Hour when asked if it was too late to do it. “F*** the belt. Come on, man. We’re us. It’s us. What we’ve done is still etched in history forever. There’s moments in history that will never, ever be — also, it’s not over.
“But like I said, there’s moments in history that will never be captured again. That will never be replicated again, and I am very proud to say I was part of that. Or, I am part of that, because we’re still writing the book. This ain’t over. Game ain’t over. I thought it was game over, but I guess we put in the coin again and play again.”
The biggest blocker to UFC Africa, according to White, is determining a venue. White revealed the UFC is primarily looking at Nigeria as the host nation for the event, but he is unsure whether they will need to build an indoor arena or simply use an outdoor stadium. But Adesanya, who was born in Lagos, believes Nigeria could offer more complications than just venue.
“We can do it – I just, I know my people,” Adesanya said. “Too much greed, too much red tape, and too much corruption. But money talks, and the UFC has a lot of money. I’m being honest.
“I love my people, but the government — my people are beautiful people, but the government can be corrupt. Very corrupt. If they see dollar signs, it’ll be, ‘OK, we need this and that.’ I don’t know how all that s*** works, but trust me. Growing up in Nigeria, money talks.”