Dana White’s battle in getting UFC 249 over the line for 18 April has been lost.
The UFC President told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto that UFC 249 will no longer take place on 18 April after intervention from partners ESPN and Disney.
Additionally, all future scheduled UFC events have been postponed indefinitely.
UFC President Dana White spoke to Brett Okamoto about #UFC249 no longer taking place on April 18.
(via @bokamotoESPN) pic.twitter.com/VRP5jL3k9J
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) April 9, 2020
“Today, we got a call from the highest level you can go at Disney, and the highest level of ESPN,” White told Okamoto. “One thing that I’ve said since we started our relationship and partnership with ESPN that’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.”
White went onto confirm reports that the US-based fights would have been fought at the Tachi Palace Casino Resort in Lemoore, California. He then said the venue will play host to another UFC card in the future for their efforts in trying to get these fights over the line in spite of the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
According to the New York Times, Disney had been contacted by California Governor Gavin Newsom to stop the event from happening.
Despite the setback, White said that athletes contracted to the UFC, as well as its staff, will be taken care of during this time of uncertainty.
“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,” he stated. “Don’t worry about the financial part of this. You’re gonna get the fights on your contract, and I’m gonna make things right with the people who were willing to step up and fight…next weekend on April 18. And I’m gonna take care of as many people as I possibly can and do whatever it takes to make these guys feel comfortable.
“All my employees, nobody’s getting laid off at the UFC, everybody’s good, we will be the first sport back.”