Adesanya apologizes for 9/11 reference
Josh Hedges / UFC / Getty

UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya issued an apology Sunday for a controversial comment he made at a recent press conference.

When asked why he would go toe to toe with dangerous title contender Yoel Romero at UFC 248 in two weeks, Adesanya referred to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

"He's human, like anyone else. And everyone likes to make this myth about, 'Oh, he's steel, like kicking steel,' or you hit him and he doesn't fall. I'll touch him enough times. I'll touch him enough times and eventually, he'll crumble like the Twin Towers," Adesanya said, according to Farah Hannoun of MMA Junkie.

Fellow middleweight Paulo Costa responded to Adesanya's comments by calling the champion a "disgusting piece of shit."

Adesanya offered an apology and explanation in his Instagram story on Sunday.

"I never made a joke about people dying or made light of the tragic event that was 9/11. I was simply rambling and my brain worked faster than my mouth in a moment to (choose) the wrong euphemism," he said. "You speak on the mic enough times and you're bound to miss the mark with some bars. I did on this one and for that I'm sorry. I'll be more careful in future with my words."

The undefeated champion will put his belt and 18-0 professional record on the line against the 13-4 Romero on March 7 in Las Vegas.

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Adesanya apologizes for 9/11 reference
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