Former UFC champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk recently posted a controversial image to here Instagram stories, where most people believed she was poking fun at current strawweight champion Zhang Weili and the possibility of contracting the Coronavirus from the Chinese fighter.
The Coronavirus is the virus that has been splashed across the headlines recently after it quickly spread in Wuhan, China, with death tolls already in the hundreds.
Jedrzejczyk is slated to challenge Zhang on March 7 at UFC 248 in Las Vegas. Seeming to poke fun at the idea that perhaps she could contract the virus from Zhang, since the champion is from China, there was a strong reaction – which included Zhang – to the former champion's Instagram story showing her wearing a gas mask.
Zhang Weili's response to Joanna Jedrzejczyk coronavirus Instagram post
It didn't take long for Zhang to respond. The champion did not lash out at Jedrzejczyk for the insensitive post, but rather admonished her for making fun of a virus that is nearing international epidemic proportions.
"To make fun of tragedy is a true sign of one's character. People are dying, someone's father, someone's mother, someone's child," Zhang wrote.
"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 Jedrzejczyk explains her Instagram post and apologizes on Super Bowl Radio Row
Jedrzejczyk was in Miami attending the media festivities surrounding the NFL's Super Bowl LIV, which takes place this weekend. In an interview with ESPN, she discussed the upcoming bout with Zhang at length before addressing the coronavirus controversy and apologizing.
"I was just laughing at the memes some people started to post and how funny I look on some of these memes. I didn't want to offend someone. I would never make fun of sick people, of illness or virus, because it's such a dangerous thing, and I feel sorry to all of the people because it is very dangerous for all of us, not just the Chinese people," said Jedrzejczyk.
"I think Weili Zhang got a little too emotional, but if I offended her I'm saying sorry, but I was laughing only about the memes, not about the illness and what is happening in China right now."
Jedrzejczyk has since removed the controversial post from her Instagram feed.
Joanna Jedrzejczyk's Super Bowl radio row interview with ESPN
(Courtesy of ESPN MMA)