Former Bachelor Nick ‘Honey Badger’ Cummins sparked outrage following a brutal boxing match with his fellow SAS Australia contestant, AFLW star Sabrina Frederick.
Now, the controversial TV show’s Chief Instructor, Ant Middleton, has spoken out about the confronting fistfight between the two professional sportspeople in a chat with Nova 96.9’s Fitzy & Wippa on Monday morning.
When prompted by the hosts to address viewer concern at watching a ‘guy hitting a girl’ ex-British soldier Ant appeared unfazed and remarked on Sabrina’s boxing prowess.
“I’d rather fight the Honey Badger than Sabrina, she’s as tough as they come,” he joked.
‘I don’t go easy’
He explained that celebrities who take part in the gruelling Channel 7 program do not receive special treatment.
“I don’t go easy... I don’t care what gender you are. Can you do the job yes or no?” he said.
“She did get a beating and people were expecting me to stop it,” he added.
Ant then revealed that, while he and the other instructors prefer to let things play out, they will intervene if necessary.
“If it gets out of hand we step in of course,” he said.
Ant also reminded listeners that it was Sabrina’s choice to go toe-to-toe with Wallaby star Nick, 33.
Sabrina’s ‘constant fight’
In a separate interview, Sabrina, 23, explained why she stepped up to the challenge.
“I feel like my whole life is a constant fight, I’m a black woman, in a same-sex relationship, working in a male-dominated sport,” she said.
“I’m in this experience to prove that women can do this. I know what women can do and I’ve never had men beat me in my industry anyway.”
Regardless, Nick copped flack for being ‘too aggressive’ during the fight, which left fellow contestants Schapelle Corby and Ali Oetjen in tears.
Following his encounter with Sabrina, Nick came under fire once again for a gun-ho tackle of Olympic Swimmer Shayna Jack in a game of murderball.
Nick was called in to take on 21-year-old Shayna during the game being played in a muddy field, swooping in and instantly felling her with a rugby tackle.
Shayna was left sprawling on the ground, with teammate Candice Warner voicing concern the Honey Badger had done some damage.
“I think she got hurt,” the Ironwoman can be heard saying as the players return to their teams. “Shayna, I think she got winded from Badger.”
The swimmer managed to stagger out, left winded by the attack.
Viewers gobsmacked at ‘reckless’ move
Online commentators were left gobsmacked, arguing the tackle was taking things too far, and voicing concern that the rugby player wasn’t being careful enough with smaller players.
“Nick Cummins does not f**k around poor girl,” one fan of the show summed it up.
“Sh*t!!” another agreed. “The honey badger is going in hard on the girls.”
“He has become extremely reckless,” another pointed out.
Even comedian Dave Hughes weighed in on the controversy, wondering if Badger should calm down when approaching the female contestants.
“Is it non pc to say Honey Badger needs to calm down on tackling the women?” he wondered on Twitter.
Some came to the rugby star’s defence, arguing he was treating everyone the same in his approach to the challenging series, and shouldn’t be faulted for doing as he is asked.
“Don’t give honey badger sh*t for going hard on the girls, it’s literally the show,” the fan wrote. “He would go that hard against anyone, boy or girl. No one gets upset when he’s going hard against a guy so who’s the real sexist one?”
Additional reporting by Penny Burfitt.