- Israel Adesanya could attend UFC 297 in Toronto
- His lawyer argued he needs to enter Canada
- Adesanya’s rivals are fighting in the main event
Israel Adesanya could be in attendance at UFC 297 after his lawyer dropped a major hint during his drink driving hearing on Wednesday.
Adesanya, 34, announced a hiatus from fighting following his defeat by Sean Strickland at UFC 293 in Sydney, which saw the Kiwi lose his middleweight title to the outspoken American.
The former champion has long insisted that he has no desire to get back in the Octagon in the near future, but the UFC may be plotting a dramatic return if his lawyer’s words in court ring true.
Adesanya was in Auckland District Court on Wednesday to hear his drink driving case, in which he tested over the limit after a night out with friends in August last year.
According to Stuff, Adesanya’s lawyer, Karl Trotter, begged the judge not to send his client to jail, arguing that sponsorship contracts potentially worth hundreds of thousands of dollars were at stake for the fighter who has taken a short hiatus from MMA.
Israel Adesanya could be in attendance at UFC 297 later this month
Sean Strickland (L) is fighting Dricus Du Plessis (R) for the belt previously held by Adesanya
Dana White and the UFC are keeping their cards close to their chest on UFC 300
‘So that’s the ballpark we are in,’ said Trotter, who chose not to name any of these potential sponsors.
Intriguingly, Trotter also argued that a conviction would make it difficult for Adesanya to enter Canada, where a major event is taking place at the end of the month.
Of course, that major event is UFC 297, where Strickland defends his championship against Adesanya’s bitter rival Dricus Du Plessis in Toronto.
Trotter stressed that a conviction would have ‘monumental’ adverse consequences on Adesanya’s future.
The judge sided with Adesanya and opted not to endanger potential sponsorship deals or travel arrangements, leaving the 34-year-old free to travel to Canada for the January 21 event.
With UFC chiefs yet to find a viable option to headline its flagship UFC 300 card on April 13, could Adesanya help set up a super-fight with the winner of Strickland vs Du Plessis?
Khamzat Chimaev is widely regarded as the next in line for the shot, but Adesanya’s potential appearance in Toronto could throw a spanner in the works and provide fans a main event worthy of headlining UFC 300.