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Israel Adesanya: 'I didn't realise me being Black was a problem, until I got to NZ'

Kiwi UFC champion Israel Adesanya has opened up once more about the racism he has faced while living in New Zealand.

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The Kiwi-Nigerian fighter hit back at criticism of New Zealand's Black Lives Matter protests. Source: 1 NEWS

The Nigerian-born MMA fighter told the Daily Telegraph it’s something he’s dealt with ever since he was a child.

"I really didn't realise me being Black was a problem, until I got to New Zealand," Adesanya said.

"My first week in school, there was a kid who was being a dick to me. He lived down the road. He kept riding by my house with his friend telling me, 'Go back to your own country, Black.'

"I didn't understand it. It was so foreign. I didn't even know this guy, Why was he being so mean to me?"

Adesanya said the abuse led him to fight the bully.

Israel Adesanya Source: 1 NEWS

"That next week at school, he came up to me after interval and pushed me to the ground, and I lost my s***.

"I beat him up, from D block to K block. I beat him up for about a minute and a half, and I was crying while I was whooping his ass. Then I ran away and went to hide. It was a pretty traumatic experience for myself.

"I just didn't understand, why are you being mean to me because of the colour of my skin? I still can't fathom it because I'm not of that creed."

The interview comes after Adesanya decided to speak at a Black Lives Matter rally in Auckland back in June, saying it was heart-breaking to see Black people being killed by cops in the US but racism was also a problem in New Zealand.

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The Kiwi UFC champ says racism is an issue in New Zealand. Source: 1 NEWS

"I just moved to a spot in Remuera. I'm at the top floor," Adesanya said at the time in his speech.

“I have to go in an elevator. Three times already I've had to have racist, scared, white people jump when they see me, and I smile at them.

"So now I have got to stay to the side and let them walk through just so they don't get scared when they see me. Why? Because I'm Black."

On reflection, Adesanya said he’s “proud” of what he said but is frustrated little has come from the movement.

"Like Jay Z said, 'I'm past kneeling.' There's no point in bringing awareness no more. What we need is for the world to change. Talk to the lawmakers, the councilmen, the mayors, your own city, your own town, your own city, and demand change from whatever you feel is wrong.

"I'm doing my best to make change in my own world. I can't change the world, but I can change the world around me, and I think people should try to do that because it's a shame to see what's happening to Black people all around the world."

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After getting teased when he was young, Adesanya decided he needed to learn to defend himself - a choice that changed his life forever. Source: Sunday

Despite his passionate thoughts and actions towards racism, though, Adesanya doesn’t see himself as an activist.

"I'm still human. I'm me and I'm still figuring out my own self.

"I feel like people look at me from a political view. I'm like, 'Bro, I'm not the person to be looking at for political takes.' I'm a fighter who has something to say because of what's happening in the world, but I'm not your councilman.

"Go to those legislators and leaders in your town, to get your point across.

"I'm just a regular dude doing extra regular s***. And I'm doing it very well.

"But I'm still the dude who walks around bare foot in West Auckland, walking his dogs through the mud.

"I'm still that guy with his headphones on at Pak'nSave trying to get my shopping done without having 20 people asking for photos."