Looking forward to hosting UFC 249 on a secured private island, the president of UFC was forced to “stand down” by Disney and ESPN officials.
After having told ESPN on Monday about a private island being secured for UFC 249 and trying to keep the location private from the public and the fighters. White is unable to host UFC 249 on April 18, which consisted of 12 fights.
“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,” White told ESPN.
UFC took to Instagram stating: “While the organization was fully prepared to proceed with UFC 249, ESPN has requested the postponement of the event.”
Planning to host bi-weekly fights for two months on the private island, White plans to host a big event at the Tachi Palace Casino Resort in the future.
Force to postpone three events -March 21, March 28, and April 11.
The fight was headlined by an interim title fight between Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje. The fight originally featured undefeated lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomdov against Ferguson.
Khabib Nurmagomedov who is Russian, was unable to leave because of the pandemic travel restriction, which he revealed on Instagram Live. It later became clear to the fighter that he would have trouble leaving Dagestan and reentering the U.S.
Moments before the event was canceled, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) released a statement saying she was “concerned” about the event taking place at the casino.
“I understand this event is scheduled to take place on tribal land and therefore is not subject to state law,” Feinstein said in a statement. “However, at best this event ties up medical resources and sends a message that shelter-in-place orders can be flouted. At worst, participants and support staff could carry the virus back to their home communities and increase its spread.”