UFC 249 got TKO’d. The scheduled for April 19 (AEDT) pay-per-view fight card has been officially cancelled, Dana White confirmed on Friday.
“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 on Saturday,” UFC President Dana White said, ESPN reported.
The event was originally planned to take place at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. The venue was cancelled amid coronavirus pandemic. This week the Tachi Palace Casino Resort near Lemoore, California was (unofficially) named as a host of the next weekend’s MMA event, yet the fight card is no longer going ahead.
“It’s been a battle since day one. We’ve been fighting nonstop all day and all night, since this pandemic started, to put on this event on April 18.”
“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,” White said, confirming the announced venue. “And let me tell you this – when the world gets back to normal, California, that [fight] will be at Tachi Palace.”
The original UFC 249 main event bout was scheduled to see the reigning lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov in defense of his belt against Tony Ferguson. The contest fell off as “The Eagle” is unable to leave Dagestan, Russia, that shut its borders.
The reason behind a withdrawal of Rose Namajunas from her rematch against fellow former strawweight champion Jessica Andrade has also been revealed. ESPN reported, citing her agent, that “Thug Rose” was forced to pull out due to two COVID-19 related deaths in her family.
Dana White has also stated that the fights at a secured private island would go ahead. He is determined to be the first sporting organization to be back once things settle.
“It’s all good. We’re going to get through this. We’ll be the first ones back, White said. “Fight Island is coming, all the good stuff. It’s coming, man.”
“We’ll get this thing squared away, get a date from ESPN, and we’ll be back first and we’ll get these fights going that everybody wants to see.”