While tensions continued to rise back home, with farm murder protests taking centre stage, mixed martial artist Dricus du Plessis used his elevated status at the weekend to add his voice to a controversial debate.
Making a spectacular debut at the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Fight Island 5 tournament on Saturday, Du Plessis earned a first-round knockout victory over middleweight opponent Markus Perez.
Following the top-flight bout, the 26-year-old fighter said he joined the stand against farm murders.
“South Africa is going through so much, if you look at it from a political stance,” Du Plessis said.
“We have farm murders that are really taking the whole country by storm. It’s something unbelievable.
“People are getting murdered daily and I almost feel like because it’s Africa a lot of the world doesn’t see it, and nobody in the world really knows what’s going on there.”
“I came in here and finished a guy that’s never been finished, and it feels absolutely amazing.”@DricusDuPlessis talks about getting his first UFC win and what it means to him to represent South Africa.#UFCFightIsland5 | #InAbuDhabi | @VisitAbuDhabi pic.twitter.com/UdiO6fIJpe
— UFC News (@UFCNews) October 11, 2020
Du Plessis, a former middleweight and welterweight champion in the local Extreme Fighting Championship (EFC), hoped tensions would ease and solutions could be found.
“I’ve just got this opportunity on a bigger stage to say ‘let’s stop the farm murders’ and I want people to see what’s happening in South Africa,” he said.
“It’s one of the most beautiful countries in the world and it’s being ruined by things like this.
“We don’t need that, so let’s stick together as a country, and as humanity, and let’s beat this thing.”