Natan Levy, a French-born Israeli mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter, won his UFC Fight Night bout against Genaro Valdez Saturday night and took the opportunity in the spotlight afterward to denounce Kanye West's antisemitism.
"Kanye West, if you’ve got a problem with me or my people, come see me," Levy said in front of reporters in a post-fight press conference just after he won the fight by unanimous decision after it went the full three rounds.
"Kanye West, if you’ve got a problem with me or my people, come see me."Israeli MMA fighter Natan Levy
"You represent Israel and... there's... been a lot of talk in the mainstream news with what Kanye West has been saying and Kyrie Irving has been saying, so as an athlete from Israel, what do you make of everything that's happening...?" a journalist asked him during the press conference.
"You know I think life is too short to hate, so to all these hateful people... sucks for you, I pity you," he immediately responded. "And other than that... Kanye West, if you got a problem with me or my people, come see me, bro."
Levy was then asked if he's noticed that others online have been emboldened by Kanye to voice antisemitic sentiments.
"Trust me, I've noticed it. I get a lot of 'lovely' DMs all the time. I am Jewish, it's what I am, it's [how] I was born. I'm very proud of it, and I will fight for it. I will fight for my people in the Octagon (the UFC fighting cage) or wherever need be, and I will not stand for antisemitism. I won't stand for any racism," Levy said.
Indeed, Kanye has been receiving a massive wave of backlash worldwide after slowly increasing the extremity of his anti-Jewish rhetoric.
At first, he was saying that Jews control the media. Now, this past week, he expressed a liking for Hitler, followed by fervent denial of the Holocaust.
Let's talk fighting
Meanwhile, Levy came out of his successful fight feeling confident as ever.
"I feel like I dominated," he said. "Sucks I couldn't get the finish. I wanted a performance bonus, but I feel like this guy is unfinishable. He's so tough, so I can't really complain. I hit him, I dropped him a few times, I think I took him down, outstruck him. I did everything that was in my control during the fight."
Indeed, Levy outmatched Valdez step for step. He landed more significant strikes and performed six successful takedowns throughout the fight. In contrast, Valdez didn't attempt any.
Levy, who has been posting consistent video updates on his training and fight preparation on social media in subsequent days, seemed to have been single-mindedly focused on the fight.
In a separate post-fight interview, Levy said, "For me, this guy is a monster. I was thinking about him constantly for two months, he was in my head. I knew I was gonna beat him, but I knew it wasn't going to be an easy task."
Levy, whose new record now stands at 8 wins, 1 loss, and no draws, also expressed eagerness to appear in UFC bouts more frequently in the future.