LAGOS, Nigeria (VOICE OF NAIJA)-Alex Pereira has reacted to how Israel Adesanya mocked his son after landing a knockout victory in their world title rematch on Saturday, saying he understood why his rival behaved that way.
Mirror reported that Adesanya had been chasing an elusive victory over Pereira for seven years over three fights in two different sports, but was upset on each occasion.
However, he managed to land a massive knockout win at the fourth time of asking at UFC 287, after which he led one of the wildest celebrations the octagon has ever seen.
In an heartfelt post-fight Interview with Joe Rogan, the now two-time champion could be seen pointing to someone in the crowd, before mockingly jumping to the floor and playing dead.
According to Mirror, it became clear that he was staring at Pereira’s 12-year-old son, who had made the same gesture following their second kickboxing match, which the Brazilian had won by knockout seven years earlier.
But the former champion has taken a magnanimous approach, telling fans in a YouTube video: “I don’t know I wouldn’t do the same. I can play with him, I’ve always played with him and teased him. It was something that happened. But I don’t know, it’s another child because I don’t know what his feeling was.
“I don’t know, it is seven years ago, he was enduring it and I saw his joy that he had after the knockout because this was his dream. That was his dream and he made it, but we’re comparing him [his son] with a child who was five years old at the time, right? I don’t have that mind.
“I can provide it because today he is 12-years-old and before the fight I saw the he was being influenced by other people. Sometimes even in some interviews and some reporters said ‘you’re going to do this?’ He said ‘I’m going to do it again’ and so on and he laughed.”
After the win, Adesanya didn’t show any remorse, telling the media that he wanted to teach the 12-year-old a lesson and called him a “a**hole.“
The celebration has proven divisive on social media, with some feeling that it’s a case of ‘what goes around comes around’, while others reckon it’s over-the-top from a 33-year-old man towards a 12-year-old boy.
“I’m petty bro,” Adesanya admitted during an emotional press conference, admitting that the gesture had played on his mind. “I remember the first time he knocked me out in Brazil his son came into the ring and started to get next to me. I’m like ‘you f***ing little a**hole, I’ll whoop your a** if your dad won’t do it for you.
“I looked for his kid and I pointed at him and I saw him. I was like ‘hey, hey hey,’ just to remind him. I saw him [Pereira] backstage and we’re cool. He’s a great champion, he’s a warrior and his story – I mean that. I’m the antagonist in his story, he’s a f***ing beast coming from where he’s come from and the adversity he’s faced in his life to get to where he is.”