On Wednesday night, news surfaced that former UFC strawweight champion Rose Namajunas has been forced out of her planned UFC 249 rematch with Jessica Andrade.
Now we know why.
In a statement posted to Instagram, manager Brian Butler-Au announced that several members of the Namajunas family have passed away due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“[Rose Namajunas] withdrew from UFC 249 due to 2 deaths in the family related to the Coronavirus,” the statement read. “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.”
Rose Namajunas has not fought since she lost the UFC strawweight title to Andrade in May of 2019. Despite a strong start to that fight, Namajunas was knocked out by a devastating slam in the second round. Andrade went on to lose the title to Weili Zhang in her first defense, succumbing to a first-round volley of strikes. Zhang still holds the title, and the winner of the nixed Namajunas vs. Andrade rematch figured to be well positioned for a shot at the current champ.
At this stage, it’s not clear if the UFC is seeking a replacement opponent for Namajunas. That being said, the promotion has its work cut out of so given the travel restrictions associated with the coronavirus pandemic.
The team at BJPENN.com sends its condolences to Rose Namajunas and her family during this difficult time.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 4/9/2020.