Zhang Weili, UFC women's strawweight champion, took exception to an Instagram post by Joanna Jedrzejczyk that made light of the recent coronavirus outbreak.
"To make fun of tragedy is a true sign of ones character," Weili wrote on Instagram. "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."
Per ESPN's Marc Raimondi, Jedrzejczyk deleted a post in which she doctored a UFC fight poster with a gas mask on her face and captioned it with laughing emojis.
Raimondi noted Jedrzejczyk attempted to clarify the post in a video on Instagram: "Hey champ, hey Weili, so sorry to make you feel bad, but I would never make fun of sick people with illness or virus. 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?"
China has been hit hardest by the recent outbreak of the virus that causes respiratory infections in human beings ranging from the common cold to potentially lethal diseases like SARS.
Per CNN's Eric Cheung, as of Wednesday, a total of 6,061 cases of coronavirus and 132 deaths have been reported in mainland China.
CNN added nearly 60 million people in Chinese cities are currently under partial or full lockdown and a number of countries, including the United States, China and Japan, are flying their citizens out of Wuhan, where the virus was first identified last month.
Weili was born in China and is billed as fighting out of Beijing. She won the strawweight title by beating Jessica Andrade via first-round TKO last August.
Jedrzejczyk will be Weili's first challenger at UFC 248 on March 7 from Las Vegas.