Deaths in Family from COVID-19 Forced Rose Namajunas Off UFC 249

UFC strawweight champ Rose Namajunas
Rose Namajunas Credit: Dave Mandel/

Just days ago, word broke that Rose Namajunas had withdrawn from UFC 249. Today, we know why.

Namajunas’ management company, Sucker Punch Entertainment, released a brief statement regarding the matter. And it’s clear that “Thug Rose” has been hit particularly hard by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Immediate release: [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.”

On Thursday, the death tally from COVID-19 surpassed 1,700 in the United States alone, the highest single-day toll to date. Globally, the coronavirus pandemic has killed over 95,000, while over 1.5 million have been infected. Over 450,000 of those reside within the United States.

UFC 249, which had been expected to take place at the Tachi Palace Casino Resort near Fresno, California, was going to see Namajunas rematch with Jessica Andrade, the woman who took her strawweight belt last year. Namajunas (8-4) was knocked out off a slam in the second round, after dominating the opening frame against the Brazilian.

“Thug Rose” has not fought since. Andrade would go on to lose the title in her first attempt at defending it, against current champ Weili Zhang.