UFC: Kiwi champ Israel Adesanya draws ire for debt-collecting Twitter posts

UFC champion Israel Adesanya has been called out on social media for a series of tweets seemingly designed to put the squeeze on an outstanding debtor.

The unbeaten Kiwi middleweight will jump a division to face Pole Jan Blachowicz for the light-heavyweight crown on March 6.

But this week, Adesanya has drawn the ire of Twitter, after using the platform to 'out' someone owing him money, posting their phone number and encouraging his 770,000 followers to turn the screws.

"Someone owes me money and isn't wanting to pay," said the now-deleted posts. "I'm gonna put their number on here and imma need y'all to rind [sic] this person at random and demand they pay me ASAP!!

"Alice. Pay me my motherf**ken money!!!"

Later, Adesanya's account posted: "That's enough for now. The message was received."

Contacted by Newshub, Adesanya's camp has offered a "no comment", except to confirm the posts have been removed - but not before screenshots were circulated widely around the internet.

"He's put someone's number on Twitter to get harassed lol hella cases being caught," says one response.

"Dude, using your platform and fan base like that is honestly f**ked," says another. "Why do you think doxxing is OK?"

Adesanya tweets
Adesanya tweets
Adesanya tweets Photo credit: Twitter/Stylebender

'Doxxing' is the practice of publishing personal details of individuals online. 

"Yo, sharing someone's number online is some Mike Perry behaviour," adds another, referencing the exploits of a UFC welterweight fighter with a reputation for anti-social behaviour.

"Behave like the king you are. You are the best fighter in the world." 

Internet watchdog Netsafe has sighted the screenshots, but chief executive Martin Cocker says it has received no formal complaint and has not investigated them, so was unwilling to make a specific ruling. But said in general doxxing can be an offence. 

"We've got a couple of blocks of law that might cover it," he tells Newshub. "The Harmful Digital Communications Act makes it an offence to create a communication that's harmful to another person.

"But sometimes that harm can cross into more criminal areas, where you are threatening to harm somebody or putting a person's life or safety at risk by tweeting something. You get into the realms of the Crimes Act and it becomes a police matter."

Cocker says the first recourse under the Harmful Digital Communications Act was removing the posts, which has already happened in this case. A further step could be a public retraction or apology.

Newshub tried calling 'Alice', but the number given appears to have been disconnected.