Zhang Weili will defend her UFC strawweight title against Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 248 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on March 7.
But the defending champion is already scoring points against her opponent for the way she handled Jedrzejczyk's distasteful meme.
On Tuesday, Jedrzejczyk took to her Instagram account and posted a Photoshopped version of their UFC 248 fight poster, but with her donning a gas mask and laughing emojis surrounding it. The poster was in reference to the deadly coronavirus, which has killed at least 132 people in Zhang's native China, with roughly 6,000 cases across more than 12 other countries, as CBS reported Wednesday.
- Is Anthony Joshua considering a move to Canelo Alvarez trainer Eddy Reynoso?
- Bob Arum makes big prediction for Anthony Joshua vs. Oleksandr Usyk rematch
- Teofimo Lopez and Devin Haney's confrontation has Eddie Hearn believing they'll fight in spring 2022
- Mikey Garcia loss to Sandor Martin disappointing and 'lackluster', says Eddie Hearn
It was easy to understand why Zhang and many others didn't find the gesture funny, and Jedrzejczyk later deleted the post. Zhang took to her own Instagram account Wednesday and fired back at Jedrzejczyk over the blatant disrespect for people plagued by the flu-like virus.
To make fun of tragedy is a true sign of ones character. People are dying, someones father, someones mother, someones child. Say what you want about me if it makes you feel stronger but do not joke about what’s happening here. I wish you good health until March 7th. I will see you soon.
A post shared by Weili Zhang 张伟丽 (@zhangweilimma) on
"To make fun of tragedy is a true sign of ones character," Zhang wrote. "People are dying, someones father, someones mother, someones child. Say what you want about me if it makes you feel stronger but do not joke about what’s happening here. I wish you good health until March 7th. I will see you soon."
Having learned about drawing Zhang's ire with the meme, Jedrzejczyk apologized, but advised the champ "don't get emotional" in the process.
"Hey, champ, hey Weili, so sorry to make you feel bad, but I would never make fun of sick people with illness or virus," Jedrzejczyk said in an Instagram Stories video Wednesday. "So I didn't want you to get offended. But I just made fun of the funny internet meme. So, so sorry. Still, I will see you March 7. And don't get emotional, OK?"
This bout, already a big one as the co-main event to Israel Adesanya facing Yoel Romero, just got a bit more heated.