Maycee Barber details UFC on ESPN 59 withdrawal, can’t properly train without ‘risk for lifelong damage’

Maycee Barber put her health first when deciding to pull the plug on her planned UFC on ESPN 59 main event vs. Rose Namajunas.

Part of the reason Barber (14-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC) moved up to the women’s flyweight division, where she has won six in a row, from strawweight, is because the weight cutting was doing damage to her body. She has been open about that in the past, but it appears there is still some lingering issues.

Barber was scheduled to fight Namajunas in her first octagon headliner on July 13 at Ball Arena in Denver, but less than three weeks from the card had to pull out and was replaced by Tracy Cortez.

It was a difficult decision, Barber said, but also the right one. According to the 26-year-old, her training camp was nothing short of a disaster, and all the health problems made it impossible to prepare effectively for a former UFC champion such as Namajunas.

Check out Barber’s detailed statement below (via Instagram):

This is the last post I wanted to be making heading into July. Wish I was putting up a post about being 2 weeks out from my first main event. God must have other plans in store for the future 🤍 Unfortunately,As a lot of you may know, I was hospitalized for many days following my last fight. I spent 9 days in the hospital less than 2 months ago. Doctors at the time couldn’t find exactly what was going on, and I ended up also I developing pneumonia during that time.

I was put on numerous rounds of oral and IV antibiotics, which absolutely wrecked my system. When I accepted this fight I was told that I would be okay by the time July came around and so after a few weeks eased back to training and into a camp, as I got deeper into camp I just couldn’t find any intensity needed to get ready for a 5-round fight let alone the first 5 minutes of a practice. I wanted so badly to be able to go out there and perform in front of my home, family and friends. Especially against such a high level opponent in Rose.

Although I tried to keep pushing through, my team recognized that I’m not just not physically even close to where I need to be to safely enter a fight let alone into a single training session without putting myself at risk for lifelong damage. I needed to find answers as to why my body is seemingly turning against me. I sought out a team of medical professionals who, alongside the UFC, have run extensive tests on my blood and urine and sinus microbiome and my gut and my hormones and there are many things physically not working properly in my body; and they are being exacerbated by an Epstein-barr virus infection that we found. This is causing body aches, headaches, as well as extreme fatigue and an inability to recover between training sessions. I keep trying to push through the fatigue, but every time I would I do so, I would get symptoms that were consistent with these lab findings.

The more we are digging into my physiology and immune system, the more apparent it becomes that not only did the numerous rounds of antibiotics I was given after my hospitalization wreck my immune system, but the constant training compounded to get me into a position of essentially feeling always sick and always completely wiped out. After I was informed of the severe risks of my spleen rupturing among other life altering risks I was devastated.

We made the decision with my team of coaches, Drs and the UFC that my physical health must be attended to now so that I can make a run in the future. 🤍✨

Barber did not reveal a timeline for when she could return to competition as she sorts through recovery and finding a path forward. What she does know, however, is that proceeding with the fight against Namajunas, no matter how significant the opportunity, would’ve been detrimental to her in multiple ways.

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC on ESPN 59.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie