UFC 249 has been cancelled and the company has chosen to delay all upcoming events indefinitely.

The card appeared to ready to go after Justin Gaethje stepped in to face Tony Ferguson for the interim lightweight title on short notice. However, this evening UFC President Dana White told ESPN the card is off, he said.

“This whole thing has been a battle since day one. We’ve been fighting non-stop, all day and all night since this pandemic started to put on this event on April 18th. Today we got a call from the highest level you can go at Disney and the highest level of EPSN.

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“One thing that I’ve said since we started our relationship and partnership with EPSN is that it’s been an incredible one. It’s been an amazing partnership. ESPN has been very good to us and the powers that be their asked me to stand down and not do this event next Saturday. One thing that I need to point out is that Tachi Palace in California – the Indian reservation has had our back this whole time, has stood their ground and was willing to do this fight.

“Let me tell you this when the world gets back to normal the California event will, be at Tachi Palace. I’m doing a fight their, I’m going to bring them a big fight and I appreciate them standing with me in this thing.

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“One other thing I want to really point out is all of my fighters that are under contract with me I want them to feel safe, take time with your families and enjoy this time. Don’t worry about the financial part of this. You’re going to get the fights on your contract and I’m going to make things right with the people who were willing to step up and fight next weekend on April 18th.

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“I’m going to take care of as many people as I possibly can and do whatever it takes to make all these guys feel comfortable. All of my employees, nobody is getting laid off at the UFC. Everybody is good. We will be the first sport back. Fight island is real! It’s a real thing, the infrastructure is being built right now and that’s really going to happen, and it will be on ESPN.”

Does the postponement of UFC 249 surprise you?

A lifelong fight fan from Liverpool, England who has been covering mixed martial arts (MMA) and boxing for several years. Follow @JordanEllisUK on Twitter for all the latest fight news, views, interviews and live event coverage.