‘I am distraught’: Israel Adesanya calls for ‘coward punch laws’ after fellow MMA fighter attacked

MMA fighter Israel Adesanya has called for the introduction of “coward punch laws” after a fellow training partner was attacked in the early hours of Sunday morning.

The UFC middleweight Champion has called for legal changes after one of his main training partners Fau Vake was bashed in Auckland’s CBD. The 25-year-old is now fighting for his life in hospital.

It is alleged the City Kickboxing student fell after being hit from behind.

“I am distraught,” Adesanya said. “My gym brother may die because of the actions of these men.”

Back in 2012, Adesanya suffered a broken jaw after he was hit from behind. He now wants to bring attention to what he says is a lack of legal recognition of the seriousness of what are termed coward punches.

“In the past decade there have been numerous deaths from punches thrown when people are not looking.”

Vake, a promising MMA fighter and young father, is in critical condition in Auckland City Hospital.

Friends and family of Vake are rallying to support him. The mixed martial arts community both locally and overseas are also coming together to support one another.

Police and emergency services were called to an incident on Symonds St at 2.55am on Sunday.

Four men have since been charged in relation to the incident.

A 29-year-old man has been charged with wounding with intent and injuring with intent. Another man, also 29, has been charged with common assault.

A third 29-year-old man has been charged with two counts of assaulting with intent to injure.

A fourth man, 32, has been charged with common assault.

City Kickboxing head coach Eugene Bareman said he can’t understand why a coward punch law had not been addressed sooner.

In 2014, New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria all introduced such laws.

“In 2018, the New Zealand Parliament rejected a bill in its first reading to create a coward punch offence with a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment. This means there is absolutely no deterrent in place to make people think twice about this type of attack.

“It’s sad to see Australia so far ahead of us in dealing with these evil acts. If New Zealand law doesn’t allow for a more serious penalty, we should all be pushing for it,” Bareman said.

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