It turns out, Manel Kape really was ready to throw down at the UFC 293 pre-fight press conference.
Just days away from his own fight against Felipe dos Santos, Manel Kape blasted Kai Kara-France, who dropped off the card after suffering a concussion in training. When Kape shouted at the New Zealander in the audience, that drew a reaction then-UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya, who is teammates with Kara-France and was on stage promoting his headliner against Sean Strickland.
The fighters exchanged words, with Adesanya promising he would “bury” Manel Kape, calling the flyweight contender a “midget” as security got between them to ensure the incident didn’t turn physical.
The situation seemingly ended there, but Kape revealed that Adesanya approached him backstage and offered an apology.
“After all this talk [at the press conference], he came to me backstage ‘Hey, no disrespect, we are Africa, we’re brothers,’” Manel Kape said when speaking to MMA Fighting. “I said, ‘We are not brothers.
“‘Look, my problem is with Kai Kara, not with you. Why did you stand up? He can handle his business.’”
Kape said he had no beef with Adesanya until the altercation at the pre-fight press conference. But for him, the entire ordeal wasn’t just some promotional tool to hype up his rivalry with Kara-France. That’s why he refused to accept Adesanya’s apology when they ran into each other again two days later at UFC 293.
“Believe me, if he’s in the street with no cameras, I’ll eat you, too,” Kape said. “You are a man to back up your words. Because you’re just one [man], you’re tall, but I’ll eat you in the streets. Believe me. You don’t know what I’m capable of doing.
“He backed down again. Ask them what he said to me backstage. No man, no size, I don’t fear them, and I’m undefeated in the streets.”
While trash talk happens all the time in the UFC, Kape didn’t take kindly to Kara-France dropping out of their fight, and he really didn’t appreciate Adesanya getting involved in business that wasn’t his.
That said, Kape wasn’t shocked that Adesanya approached him backstage at UFC 293. He believes the whole drama surrounding the press conference was just a show for Kara-France and his teammates.
The same can’t be said for Kape.
“I expected it, because they’re just acting,” Kape said. “The difference is I’m not acting. I’m not acting. I’m for real.
“These people, they’re not built like me. Where I come from, what I handle. I’m different than these people. He knows. He don’t want the problem there.”