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Israel Adesanya calling for harsh penalties after ‘coward punch’ leaves training partner Fau Vake in critical condition

City Kickboxing’s Fau Vake is fighting for his life after being sucker punched by a gang of men in Auckland.

UFC 259: Jan Blachowicz v Israel Adesanya
Israel Adesanya after competing at UFC 259.
Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Israel Adesanya and Eugene Bareman are both calling for strict penalties to be handed down to the four men accused of assaulting City Kickboxing’s Fau Vake, who is currently fighting for his life in an intensive care unit in Auckland Hospital.

Vake, 25, was left in critical condition after he was attacked on Sunday morning. Four men have been charged in connection with this incident. Among those charges are common assault and injuring with intent.

It is suspected that Vake was waiting for a taxi when he was sucker punched by one of the individuals who has since been charged with assault. Both Adesanya and Bareman have released statements saying they want to see harsher punishments for sucker punches, or ‘coward punches’ as they called them.

“I am distraught,” said Adesanya (per TVNZ). “My gym brother may die because of the gutless actions of these men.”

“In the past decade there have been numerous deaths from punches thrown when people are not looking,” continued Adesanya. “Given the massive publicity these crimes have received, no one is dumb enough to think there is not a serious risk of death. There is no excuse, it should be considered attempted murder or murder.”

When speaking with TVNZ Bareman stated that Australian states New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria all introduced ‘coward punch’ laws in 2014 and that he’d like to see the same happen in New Zealand.

“In 2018, the New Zealand Parliament rejected a bill in its first reading to create a coward punch offence with a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment,” said Bareman. “This means there is absolutely no deterrent in place to make people think twice about this type of attack.

“It’s sad to see Australia so far ahead of us in dealing with these evil acts. If New Zealand law doesn’t allow for a more serious penalty, we should all be pushing for it.”

Since Vake was admitted to hospital he has been surrounded by family and teammates from City Kickboxing. Vake has a 2-0 pro MMA record with both wins coming in 2016.