UFC President Dana White has announced the official cancelation of UFC 249 and all subsequent events indefinitely after instruction from Disney and ESPN.
Brett Okamoto of ESPN reported that UFC 249: Ferguson vs Gaethje has been cancelled. The fight was scheduled for April 18 at an undisclosed location was set to be headlined by an interim title fight between Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje and featured a stacked undercard below them.
UFC President Dana White spoke to Brett Okamoto about #UFC249 no longer taking place on April 18.
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) April 9, 2020
In an interview with Okamoto, White says:
“Today we got a call from the highest level you can go at Disney and the highest level of ESPN. One thing I have said since we started our relationship and partnership is that it has 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 on to say that the Taichi Palace, which was the rumored location for UFC 249, would be getting a huge event when business eventually resumes as they stood by White and the UFC in going forward with the event prior to the cancelation this afternoon.
White also had a final message to his fighters and staff regarding their immediate future:
I want them to feel safe. Take time with your families. Enjoy this time. Don’t worry about the financial part of this. You’re going to get the fights on your contract and I’m going to make things right with the people who were willing to step up and fight next weekend on April 18. I’m going to take care of as many people as I can and do whatever it takes to make these guys feel comfortable. All of my employees, nobody is getting laid off at the UFC. We are going to be the first sport back. Fight Island is real. It’s a real thing. The infrastructure is being built right now and that’s really gonna happen. And t’s going to be on ESPN. That’s where we stand right now.”
The UFC also released an official statement on the situation:
— UFC (@ufc) April 9, 2020