- Namajunas’ manager reveals reason ‘Thug Rose’ pulled out before UFC 249 was ultimately cancelled
- ‘We ask for people to respect their privacy at this time,’ says Brian Butler-Au
Before Dana White announced Disney and ESPN had pulled the plug on UFC 249, Rose Namajunas had already made the decision she wasn't going to compete.
"Thug Rose" was set to rematch Jessica Andrade in a co-main event between the former strawweight champions, but reports surfaced on Wednesday night that Namajunas was off the April 18 card.
The 27-year-old's manager Brian Butler-Au confirmed on Friday that the 27-year-old withdrew from the event because of two deaths in her 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," an Instagram post from Namajunas' representatives, Suckerpunch Entertainment, read.
View this post on Instagram
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.
A post shared by Brian Butler-Au (@suckerpunchent) on Apr 9, 2020 at 12:14pm PDT
Originally set for Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, UFC 249 had been relocated earlier this week to the Tachi Palace Casino on tribal land in Northern California after a frantic scramble, as the UFC pushed on amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
But ESPN and parent company Disney finally pulled the plug, seemingly because of a negative public and media backlash after the show's new venue " which allowed the UFC to skirt coronavirus limits " was leaked.
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Namajunas (8-4) has not fought since Andrade (20-7) took her title at UFC 237 in May 2019. The Brazilian knocked the American out after slamming her on her head in the second round.
Andrade went on to lose the strawweight title in her defence, against Zhang Weili in Shenzhen last August.
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