UFC 249 has been postponed after executives at Disney and ESPN asked Dana White, the UFC President, to not go ahead with the event.
Tony Ferguson was originally due to face Khabib Nurmagomedov in the UFC 249 main event in Brooklyn on April 18.
However, the New York Athletic Commission called the event off and then Khabib withdrew from the fight as air-travel from Russia was restricted due to the coronavirus pandemic. Justin Gaethje stepped in to take his place in the main event.
Despite the global sporting shut down due to the spread of COVID-19, White was determined to hold the event this month.
The UFC President swore to find another location for UFC 249 and settled on Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino in Lemoore, California.
Yet, with just over a week to go before the event was due to take place on April 18, the company executives at Disney and ESPN have asked White to postpone UFC 249. Disney own ESPN, the network due that was due to broadcast the event.
“It’s been a battle since day one, we’ve been fighting all day and all night to put on this event,” White told ESPN on Thursday.
“Today we got a call from the highest level you could go at Disney and the highest level of ESPN.
“ESPN has been very very good to us, and the powers that be there asked me to stand down and not do this event next Saturday.”
You can watch White speak about the decision here:
UFC President Dana White spoke to Brett Okamoto about #UFC249 no longer taking place on April 18.
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) April 9, 2020
Later in the day, the UFC released a statement on the event being suspended, which reads:
“While the organization was fully prepared to proceed with UFC 249, ESPN has requested the postponement of the event and subsequent bouts until further notice in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. UFC looks forward to resuming the full live events schedule as soon as possible.”
— UFC (@ufc) April 9, 2020