Israel Adesanya and Manel Kape aren’t fighting each other at UFC 293, but that nearly changed during a heated altercation at the pre-fight press conference on Thursday in Australia.
The incident erupted after Kape was asked about his scheduled bout against Felipe dos Santos, which came together on short notice after local favorite – and Adesanya teammate – Kai Kara-France dropped off the card due to a concussion Kara-France suffered in training camp.
Despite not fighting, Kara-France still appeared at the press conference to support his City Kickboxing teammates, and it didn’t take long for Kape to notice him sitting just a few feet away.
“Unfortunately, Kai Kara-France is a b****,” Kape shouted at the one-time UFC interim flyweight title challenger. “A f****** b*****. [Sitting] in front of me and you are f****** guilty because this kid’s going to pay. Because you f****** p*****.
“You had three weeks to fight me, you little f****** p****. Look at you. You have the courage to come here. Yeah, stand up motherf*****! Stand the f*** up motherf*****!.”
While Kara-France stayed seated, Israel Adesanya stood up just one seat over from Kape with only heavyweight competitor Tai Tuivasa between them.
Adesanya then began shouting at Kape, which led the RIZIN veteran to turn his attention to the UFC middleweight champion. Security jumped on stage to stay between them.
“Sit the f*** down!” Kape shouted at Israel Adesanya. “I’ll f*** you up. Shut your mouth!”
Israel Adesanya continued yelling back at Kape, mocking the flyweight for trying to challenge him to a fight.
“Look at this little midget trying to f*** with me,” Israel Adesanya said. “I’ll f****** bury you.”
Tuivasa tried to restore order, smiling through the whole altercation. Somehow, it was Adesanya opponent Sean Strickland who became the voice of reason during the encounter.
“Calm the f*** down!” Strickland said, addressing Adesanya. “That’s not the fight. Leave the little man alone. I’m supposed to be the assh*** here Izzy, that’s not your job.”
Cooler heads prevailed and the press conference continued, though Kape eventually addressed Kara-France again when he was asked if that fight would still interest him after UFC 293 is over.
“I just believe next fight, I’ll fight for the title but after that, I want that man Kai Kara-France,” Kape said. “I want this man. You run away from me. Your coach said that you guys should be in through the injuries. You guys have to have the mentality of the champion so you have to [fight through] the injuries. What happened to you? That’s the question.”
Before facing off with Dos Santos once the press conference wrapped, Kape fired one more shot at Kara-France by launching a middle finger directly at him in the crowd as he walked toward his opponent on stage.
Watch the video below: