Kubrat Pulev, the 37-year-old Bulgarian heavyweight champion who knocked out Bogdan Dinu in Costa Mesa, California, over the weekend was so “elated” after his victory, he decided to kiss the female reporter who interviewed him afterward.
Jenny Sushe, a contributor for Vegas Sports Daily, talked to Pulev after the fight, asking him how he maintained his cool during the “savage” match and when he planned to return to the ring.
He decided to conclude the interview with a kiss.
“(A little) embarassing,” Sushe said on Twitter. “Strange.”
Pulev says Sushe was “actually a friend of mine” and that later that night, she joined him and his friends for a post-fight celebration.
“On the video, after our kiss, we both laughed about it and thanked each other,” he said on Twitter. “There really is nothing more to this.”
But Vegas Sports Daily called Sushe the “victim of an unwanted, unexpected and unsolicited forceful kiss.”
The news outlet said in a statement it is investigating the incident to determine the appropriate next steps.
“What happened to Ms. Sushe was completely blindsiding and unwarranted and we share in her shock, hurt, embarrassment and general outrage,” the statement read. “We want to make it clear that women should feel safe and comfortable to exercise the duties of their job, free of abuse, advances, harassment, etc in the workplace.”
Female reporters harassed by athletes, passersby
This isn’t the first time a female sports reporter has received unwanted attention while working.
Last summer, Brazilian sports journalist Júlia Guimarães was reporting from the World Cup when a man leaned in and tried to kiss her on the cheek while she was speaking to the camera.
“Don’t do this! Never do this again,” she shouted at the man. “Don’t do this, I don’t allow you to do this, never, OK? This is not polite, this is not right.”
“Never do this to a woman, OK? Respect.”
She later told Globo Esporte: “This time I responded but it’s sad people don’t understand why people feel they have the right to do that.”
In May, 21-year-old tennis player Maxime Hamou was banned from the French Open after he grabbed a Eurosport journalist close to him and kissed her repeatedly while holding her around her neck and shoulders.
“I want to offer my deepest apologies to Maly Thomas if she felt hurt or shocked by my attitude during her interview,” Hamou wrote on his Instagram account.
Also in 2018, former Sunderland manager David Moyes was charged by England’s Football Association for telling a BBC reporter after a post-match interview she might “get a slap.”
CNN’s Vasco Cotovio, James Masters and Gianluca Mezzofiore contributed to this report.