UFC champ Israel Adesanya has taken the opportunity to lend his support to the revamped Ponsonby Pride Parade, after last year's controversy over the request to ban uniformed police had the event cancelled.
Adesanya is this weekend flying out to Las Vegas to defend his UFC middleweight championship against Yoel Romero on March 8.
But this week he took a ride with influencer Kris Fox around the Viaduct as Pride ambassador for Viaduct Harbour's Rainbow Week campaign.
"I just think someone of my calibre, one of the baddest in the world, and there's all this talk of a culture of toxic masculinity, and New Zealand macho," Adesanya said.
"I mean I don't really care what anyone does, as long as you're cool with me I'm cool with you. Me and Kris have been friends for a while, this is nothing new.
"I have time, I make time for people, to help a good cause, bring attention to things that need the light shined on them, so I do my part."
The mixed martial artist was named Sportsman of the Year at the Halberg Awards this month and his fight against Romero, an Olympic medallist, is expected to be the toughest of his career to date.
"I just finished training now, bare feet. I showered real quick and came down here, so I'm ready [for the fight], almost there, almost there."
Fox said it was great for the rainbow community to have the Pride Parade back.
"I'm glad they've all come together finally and supported the cause with all the drama aside because it was kind of sad they cancelled it that one year. It just took away that light for us," Fox said.
Auckland's Rainbow Pride Parade will travel down Ponsonby Rd tonight, starting at 5.30pm.