UFC 249 has been canceled after struggling to get off the ground, but there’s another reason why one fighter chose to avoid the event.
Former UFC Women’s strawweight champion Rose Namajunas on Wednesday withdrew from the now-canceled event, though it was unclear why at the time. Namajunas’ manager, Brian Butler-Au, revealed the reason Thursday on Instagram.
“(Namajunas) withdrew from UFC 249 due to 2 deaths in the family related to the Coronavirus,” Butler-Au wrote. “Her hopes are to return to the Octagon as soon as possible but for now we ask for people to respect their privacy during this time.”
UFC president Dana White had been adamant that league events would continue and went to extreme lengths to do so, attempting to secure either a private island or tribal lands for the card.
With the virus affecting one of his own fighters like it did Namajunas, some have to wonder if this helped lead to his decision to cancel all UFC events indefinitely.