Zhang To End Camp In China Amid Coronavirus Outbreak
As the coronavirus continues to cause chaos in China and around the world, the UFC’s Strawweight Champion isn’t taking any chances. Weili Zhang is planning on moving her training camp from Beijing to Las Vegas.
“The UFC has been working hard to expedite getting Weili and her team here for precautionary reasons,” Manager Brian Butler stated to MMA Fighting. “I have connected the UFC with Tulsi Gabbard again who has graciously trying to help push things forward.”
Zhang (20-1) is set to defend her Strawweight Championship against Joanna Jędrzejczyk at UFC 248 on March 7. The fight will take place inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Initially, Zhang needed a visa to get into the United States for her fights, which Presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard was more than happy to help out with. The two have trained together as Gabbard is a fan of MMA.
According to the New York Times, the coronavirus has affected over 17,205 people, with 361 deaths confirmed. The disease, which started in China, has made in into the United States with over 11 confirmed cases. The virus has already been used to increase tension between Zhang and Joanna (16-3), when the latter shared a post on Instagram appearing to mock the situation. Joanna was wearing a mask in the photo, and Zhang responded in a post stating:
“To make fun of tragedy is a true sign of ones character,” Zhang stated. “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.”
Joanna has since apologized and deleted the initial post.
Li Jingliang is also scheduled to fight on the card against Neil Magny, but he will not be leaving China until late February. Stay tuned as more on Zhang’s status is set to be revealed. The main event of UFC 248 will be Israel Adesanya defending his UFC Middleweight Title against Yoel Romero.