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Israel Adesanya destroyed Paulo Costa in the main event of UFC 253, and pretended to hump him, before dashing to his opponent's corner and miming masturbating and ejaculating on them. UFC commentator and hopefully not former fighter Dan Hardy was not impressed, as he made clear at a media scrum on Fighting Island in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.
“It was crass, is the truth,” said Hardy .”It was unnecessary and it was crass. It’s not good for the sport to be seeing those things, but at the same time we see a lot of the superstars they stand out, they create headlines because of the thing that they do. He was urinating on the Octagon in his UFC debut. We shouldn’t be surprised by these things.
“There’s a lot of animosity between these guys and we do act out when we’re in these scenarios. When your adrenaline’s up, you’ve just won the fight, you’ve got all this energy. How many times do you see people doing terrible dances after fights and stuff? I’ve done it myself. You don’t know what you’re saying in interviews because your adrenaline’s going, you’re just ‘blllaaaaah!’ It happens. Sometimes it’s difficult to keep control of yourselves in those circumstances, but that’s when you see someone like that and you kind of think, well, it wasn’t in the spirit of martial arts and really that’s what we want to be seeing, to represent the sport as a whole. But ultimately, these people have to be their individual selves.”
Hardy also discussed Costa's oddly ineffective performance.
“If you’re a three-round fighter and you’re fighting over five rounds, you may not be able to elevate your conditioning to five rounds," he reasoned. "You may just have to manage that energy system. So starting hard and going fast for three rounds and then having to fight when you’re gassed and you’re trying to defend yourself against Adesanya is not the smart thing to do. So if I was in Costa’s corner I would have probably said the same thing: Take it easy the first round, don’t give him too much to search on, don’t give him too much research, don’t give him too much to kind of figure out and set you up. But unfortunately, I just don’t think that Costa had the operating system against Izzy to be able to understand what was going on when he was in the pocket.
“You remember when Anderson Silva came into the sport, it was like witchcraft. He’s in there and people just don’t know what to do. We’ve got guys like Chris Leben that come crashing forward and knocking people out, couldn’t lay a hand on Anderson Silva, and there’s something very disconcerting about that. When you know that you normally close distance and hurt people pretty quickly and you can’t touch them. I think it was twelve strikes that he landed in the total fight. It was just a spectacular performance from Izzy, he manages range so well. It must be very much like fighting Khabib. You can’t really understand what his wrestling’s like until he’s got his hands on you. I think when you stand in front of Israel Adesanya, you can’t really understand what that’s like until it’s there. And when it’s there, it’s too late.”