UFC President Dana White announced the cancellation of UFC 249 today after a valiant effort to keep the show going ahead.
UFC 249 had found its location at the Tachi Palace Casino Resort on tribal land in Central California. Holding the event on tribal land meant that the UFC would not have to comply with the stay at home order issued by the Californian government.
It seems that this was not taken lightly, with The New York Times reporting that California Governor Gavin Newsom called Disney officials requesting the event be cancelled.
The UFC’s broadcast partners ESPN who’s parent company is Disney, issued a statement saying the following.
“ESPN has been in constant contact with the UFC regarding UFC249. Nobody wants to see sports return more than we do, but we didn’t feel this was the right time for a variety of reasons. ESPN expressed its concerns to the UFC and they understood”.
Regarding this White spoke to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto.
“We got a call from the highest level you can go at Disney and the highest level at ESPN. One thing I’ve said since we started our relationship and partnership at ESPN is it’s been an incredible one. It’s been an amazing partnership 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”.
Originally being booked for April 18th in Brooklyn, UFC 249 was forced to be relocated after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo restricted mass gatherings. The event was then to be moved to the UFC’s performance institute in Las Vegas until the athletic commission refused to authorize the event. After that it was to be moved internationally until borders were closed resulting in main event fighter Khabib Nurmagomedov being stuck at home in Russia unable to re-enter the US.
There has been no announcement as of when the event will take place however, White believes the newly acquired private island will be ready to host within the next few months.