UFC 249 cancelled after Disney and ESPN intervention

Dana White abandons event which was to be held in a casino on Native American land

UFC 249 has been cancelled after broadcaster ESPN and parent company Disney overruled on the sport’s defiant push to keep fighting during the coronavirus pandemic.

UFC president Dana White said a decision had come from "the highest level" at Disney on Thursday for the sport to cease through the Covid-19 crisis.

Originally, UFC 249 was due to take place in Brooklyn with a lightweight title fight between Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov on April 18th.

As the pandemic hit, the bout was re-scheduled for California, before a determined White was forced to search for another location, saying it would take place “somewhere on Earth”.


This was despite the fact Nurmagomedov had to withdraw since he was not allowed to travel, with Justin Gaethje brought in as his replacement.

However, on Thursday White was finally forced to abandon the plan.

“I told you this whole thing has been a battle since day one,” White told ESPN, the event’s pay-per-view host.

“Today we got a call from the highest level you can go at Disney and the highest level at ESPN ... and the powers that be there asked me to stand down and not do this event next Saturday.”

White also revealed the ultimately scheduled host for the event, saying the Tachi Palace Casino Resort, located on Native American land some 200 miles north-west of Los Angeles, “had our back this whole time”.

“Let me tell you this, when the world gets back to normal the California event will be at Tachi Palace,” he said.

“I’m doing a fight there, I’m bringing them a big fight and I appreciate them standing with me in this thing.”

White added he wanted all his contracted fighters “to feel safe” and assured them “you’re going to get the fights on your contract”.

“Nobody’s getting laid off at the UFC,” he said.