UFC 249 and all other UFC events postponed until further notice
UFC 249 is now officially postponed. UFC president Dana White announced the postponement to ESPN shortly after 6 p.m. on Thursday.
“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 said.
The fight card was going to be headlined by an interim lightweight championship fight between Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje. Originally the event was supposed to feature undefeated lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov against Ferguson. Nurmagomedov was unable to fight due to a travel ban in his home country of Russia.
UFC 249 was supposed to take place at the Tachi Palace Casino Resort outside of Fresno, California. White said the casino was behind the UFC throughout the ongoing battle to put on the event. As a result, White is promising to bring a fight to the Tachi Palace Casino Resort in the future.
Prior to the event being called off, Sen Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) released a statement disapproving the promotions decision to host an event in her state.
“This event would involve dozens of individuals flying to California and driving to a casino for a purpose no one can honestly claim is essential,” Feinstein said in her statement. “I understand this event is scheduled to take place on tribal land and therefore is not subject to state law. 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.”
For the time being, not only is UFC 249 off, but all other UFC events are postponed indefinitely due to coronavirus pandemic. While it is upsetting, White is still optimistic that the UFC will be the first sporting event to take place whenever the sports world comes back to normal.
In the meantime, White vows to take care of his athletes and added that no UFC employees will be laid off.