Dana White has officially (and finally) pulled the plug on UFC 249.
After weeks of insisting the UFC would be able to pull off the card, White told ESPN that the event will not take place on April 18 and all other UFC events have been postponed indefinitely.
According to White, the decision came from media executives at ESPN and Disney.
“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.
White confirmed the event was scheduled to take place at the Tachi Palace Resort and Casino, which is located on a Native American reservation in central California. The decision to hold the event on tribal lands was met with heavy criticism from California senator Dianne Feinstein in a statement on Thursday afternoon.
?I understand this event is scheduled to take place on tribal land and therefore is not subject to state law,” the statement read. “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.”
The California State Athletic Commission recently cancelled all combat sports in the state through the month of May, so it was unclear whether UFC 249 would be sanctioned by an athletic body if it were to take place at Tachi Palace.
COVID-19 impacted UFC 249 significantly aside from the uncertainty related to the venue.
Lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov pulled out of his championship fight against Tony Ferguson because of his inability to leave Russia.
Then, former women’s strawweight champion Rose Namajunas withdrew from her fight against Jessica Andrade because she is dealing with two coronavirus-related deaths in her family.