MMA: UFC stars Israel Adesanya, Conor McGregor encourage strength amid COVID-19 lockdowns

Two of the UFC's biggest stars - Israel Adesanya and Conor McGregor - have called for common sense and encouraged strength during COVID-19 lockdowns.

Both New Zealand and Ireland are on nationwide lockdowns in a bid to limit the concerning spread of coronavirus. 

Kiwi Adesanya warned the pandemic would change people's lives in the coming weeks, calling on New Zealanders to support each other during such uncertain times.

"I’ll keep this short and sweet," Adesanya said. "This next four weeks is going to make and break some people. 

"Some people are going to come out of this with drinking problems, drug problems, domestics, broken families... 

"Or some people are going to come out of this with better relationships, severing all beef with family members and friends, cooking skills, better brains, healthier bodies, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

'The Last Stylebender', who defended his middleweight title earlier this month against Cuban wrestler Yoel Romero, also urged people to "stay strong" during the lockdown period.

"I’m not your fu***ng guru. I’m not nobody, but the UFC champion. 

"People carry some weight. Sometimes what I say makes the news. 

"Stay strong, because only the strong can survive this shit."

Globally, the COVID-19 pandemic has claimed more than 20,000 lives from almost 460,000 confirmed cases so far. New Zealand's infection rate is expected to dramatically increase over the coming weeks - it currently stands at 283.

Meanwhile, the UFC's highest-profile fighter has been slightly fiery in his call for global unity to combat COVID-19.

Former two-weight division champion McGregor has stressed the need for a global lockdown or be prepared for millions of unnecessary deaths.

"Any time spent debating this is needless time from the clock," McGregor said. "I know a good, tough fight when I see one, and we have one on our hands now. 

"I want to call upon my people - the great people of Ireland. This fight needs us all. 

"We’re all in the red corner together, awaiting the bell. Let’s gather together and ring the bell ourselves, including the people of the rest of the world. 

"A true lockdown must begin and it must begin now - a true lockdown together, a lockdown united."

"Let’s go, Ireland. Let’s go, rest of the world. 

"Lock down united. Together we stand. 

"God bless us all."