Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Why Israel Adesanya walked out as The Undertaker at UFC 276

In the history of professional wrestling, there might be no walkout more iconic than The Undertaker’s. It’s dark, it’s brooding, it’s ominous – and it’s exactly what Israel Adesanya felt heading into UFC 276.

And so, for his own walkout on Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Adesanya used The Undertaker’s music on his way to the octagon and recreated the WWE Hall of Famer’s walkout. The slow walk to the cage was complete with Adesanya wearing a wide brim fedora and carrying an urn with Jared Cannonier’s name on it before defending his title.

Afterward, Adesanya got the approval of The Undertaker himself.

“The long walk many opponents know and fear… congrats @stylebender!” he tweeted.

The Undertaker, whose real name is Mark Callaway, got a kick out of the whole thing.

“I thought it was great!” Hey told Ariel Helwani. “He’s not only a great fighter, he’s an awesome entertainer as well! Tyson Fury gets knocked down & sits up like the UT and Adesanya uses my walkout! Pretty damn cool!”

Making the scene more surreal was the fact that WWE’s Vince McMahon, Stephanie McMahon and Triple H were sitting cageside on a rare night when UFC and WWE went head to head in Las Vegas as WWE’s “Money in the Bank” event took place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena across the street.

After his relatively easy unanimous decision win over Cannonier, Adesanya explained the inspiration for using The Undertaker’s walkout. He said he was listening to a WWE playlist with some of his favorite wrestler songs from the “Attitude Era” of the late 90s/early 2000s, and it was The Undertaker’s music that spoke to him.

“I’m an artist. It just works,” Adesanya said. “…As I was sitting down feeling it on Tuesday, it just made sense.”

Adesanya shouted out the UFC’s event operations team for embracing his idea by making the arena go dark, using black light and fog, and illuminating the arena when his hands went up – all Undertaker walkout trademarks.

“I said all week: This feel’s like WrestleMania,” Adesanya said. “Who’s undefeated at WrestleMania? The Undertaker. And I had been feeling dark all week.”

The Undertaker was undefeated at WrestleMania at 21-0 until Brock Lesnar shockingly broke “the streak” in 2014 at WrestleMania 30 – but still, Adesanya’s point stands.

Like pro wrestling? Be sure to visit Wrestling Junkie for all your coverage of WWE, AEW and more, and follow @WrestleJunkie on Twitter.

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