Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC
UFC middleweight champ Israel Adesanya on Wednesday took a blood test and did two MRI scans of his pituitary gland to diagnose a swollen and painful right pectoral muscle that prompted speculation at UFC 253.
“I’ll wait for the results,” Adesanya told ESPN. “I might keep you posted, or I might people speculate. It’s kind of fun to watch people cry about it.”
Adesanya’s online detractors immediately assumed the worst about his appearance at this past Saturday’s pay-per-view event, accusing him of steroid use. Even his rival, former light heavyweight kingpin Jon Jones, cast a sideways glance before his dominant win over Paulo Costa.
Adesanya initially brushed off a question about his appearance, telling MMA Fighting at the post-fight press conference, “Why are they looking at my titties?”
On Wednesday, the middleweight champ offered a full explanation of his appearance. He cast aside the negative opinions as par for the course for those who want to take away from his performance.
“I don’t know what this is, but you know what? With a performance like that, I would think I was on steroids, too,” Adesanya said. “They need something. ‘It couldn’t just be him. It couldn’t be him.’ It must be something.’ So for me, it’s just fun and games.”
But for the record, Adesanya also denies ever using steroids.
“I’m not one of those people who needs a crutch, that when that gets taken away, they feel weak, they feel inadequate,” said Adesanya, who’s been tested 32 times by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency without issue. “You see when when USADA came through, a lot of people fell off. A lot of bodies changed, and a lot of people didn’t feel good enough without their little magic supplements. But yeah – not me. Skills, bro. Skills pay the bills.”
There were no naysayers about the talent Adesanya displayed against Costa as he dismantled the Brazilian slugger before stopping him in the second round. A fight guaranteed to be a “Fight of the Year” candidate by UFC President Dana White wound up a lopsied contest that flirted with being a mismatch.
Adesanya laughed with glee at a recent Costa video promising to avenge the loss and said his fans will soon see the Brazilian run afoul of anti-doping authorities.
“You wait until Paulo pops,” he said. “I can’t wait. I told you, I’m going to pop him before USADA does. When he pops, ooh, I’m going to gloat.”
Holed up in a New Zealand hotel per a mandatory COVID-19 quarantine, Adesanya is enjoying the surge of attention, good and bad. It’s been eight weeks since Adesanya’s right pectoral started swelling, increasing in size, and was “quite sore.” His girlfriend advised him to see a doctor, but he opted to fight Costa before seeking medical attention.
The champ had to Google the term gynecomastia, the medical term for enlarged male breasts that often goes hand-in-hand with steroid accusations, and pointed out that the condition effects both breasts – not just one.
“Wouldn’t it be funny if I died in five months and then it was cancer? It wouldn’t be funny,” he said, remembering the very real bad news of “Black Panther” actor Chadwick Boseman’s unexpected death from the disease.
The fans who want to offer other reasons than dominance for his victory, Adesanya said they can eat crow.
“Cry all you want,” he said. “The bottom line is, I told you so.”