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Israel Adesanya arrested at JFK Airport for possession of brass knuckles after losing UFC middleweight belt

The ex-UFC champion’s manager said the knuckles were a gift from a fan he didn’t open.

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Israel Adesanya had a very bad weekend, losing his UFC middleweight belt to persistent foe Alex Pereira. It got worse on his way home.

The ex-UFC champion was arrested John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City after attempting to go through security with a set of brass knuckles, according to MMA Fighting. Port Authority police reportedly detained him at 1:57 p.m. ET on Wednesday.

Brass knuckles are illegal in the state of New York, with possession considered a misdemeanor.

Adesanya’s manager, Tim Simpson of Paradigm Sports Management, later released a statement claiming the knuckles had been an unsolicited gift from a fan that Adesanya put in his luggage, and added that the New Zealander has already been released:

“Israel was handed a gift by a fan, which he put in his luggage. When flagged at the airport, Israel quickly disposed of the item, and cooperated with authorities. He has complied accordingly, with that the matter was dismissed and he is on his way home.”

If the matter is settled as Simpson claims, it’s still a rough footnote for Adesanya’s ill-fated business trip.

FILE - Israel Adesanya prepares to fight Jared Cannonier in a middleweight title bout during the UFC 276 mixed martial arts event Saturday, July 2, 2022, in Las Vegas. Adesanya has lost twice before to Alex Pereira, only in their old careers as kickboxers. Adesanya has since become one of UFC's best fighters and puts his middleweight title on the line against Pereira in the main event of UFC 281 Saturday, Nov. 12 at Madison Square Garden. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

Israel Adesanya’s last week has not gone according to plan. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

Adesanya entered UFC 281 at Madison Square Garden as the UFC’s No. 2 pound-for-pound fighter. Pereira entered the event with three previous UFC fights to his name, but got a title shot because a) Adesanya had cleaned out most of the viable challengers at middleweight and b) he beat Adesanya twice during their kickboxing careers.

History repeated on Saturday, with Pereira knocking out Adesanya in the fifth round of a fight Adesanya was on track to win by decision. Adesanya will almost certainly get the chance to reclaim the belt via a rematch, and will hopefully double-check his luggage next time.

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