Last night, news broke that Rose Namajunas had withdrawn from her UFC 249 co-main event rematch with Jessica Andrade (scheduled to take place on April 18th), and many fans and personalities from all over the mixed martial arts community were quick to judge and doubt the commitment of the former Strawweight Champ. Name-calling ensued almost immediately.
I couldn't even tell you how many tweets I saw criticizing Rose for not making it to the octagon - even in the middle of a global pandemic - claiming that she was "ducking" Jessica Andrade, or that she was "afraid" of what she'd do to her again. Plenty also chalked it up to the anxiety and mental health struggles that Rose has opened up about in the past, and just deemed her psychologically weak and unable to handle the pressure of fighting. People that have never stepped into a gym in their lives, let alone a cage (in front of millions), calling a professional fighter and former world champion mentally weak.
As it turns out, the reason for her dropping off the card was none of the above...
Immediate release: @rosenamajunas withdrew from UFC 249 due to 2 deaths in the family related to the Coronavirus. 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.
Per Namajunas' manager, Brian Butler-Au, Rose is no longer competing at UFC 249 because she has just suffered two coronavirus-related deaths in her family. She is requesting everyone to respect her privacy at this time.
Absolutely tragic - and completely understandable on her side of things. I hope that everyone who talked shit on her for this feels real bad right now.
This is a good opportunity to remind ourselves to be a little kinder to one another, now more than ever, because you never know what another person is going through. It could quite literally be the worst. It's also a reminder to stay the fuck inside, because this virus is relentless and impacting everybody.
Our thoughts are with Rose Namajunas and her family.