The UFC seemed to be pulling strings for weeks in order to foresee the go-ahead of UFC 249 on April 18th. – this evening, the event has been officially cancelled according to promotion president, Dana White, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic
The organization had finalized a location for the pay-per-view event to take place in just over a week’s time – with the Tachi Palace Resort Casino finally selected as the host of the highly debated event. News of the cancellation was initially reported by ESPN reporter, Brett Okamoto.
Along with the cancellation of UFC 249 – events on April 25th., May 2nd., and May 9th. have been postponed indefinitely. It was revealed earlier this week how the Tachi Palace Resort Casino in Lemoore, California, would play host to those aforementioned events.
White further insisted that the UFC would be back up and running with business as usual – before explaining how he was close to securing a private island to host events on a weekly basis, with international fighters and competitors based in the United States to be flown to the venue in order to compete.
The organisation leader told how he was willing to promote UFC 249 and further events, ensuring the safety of fighters and staff, amid the coronavirus pandemic. This evening, White then informed Okamoto that he was told to “stand down” by top ESPN and Disney executives and followed the advice.
ESPN staff writer, Ariel Helwani also detailed a statement from California senator, Dianne Feinstein, who expressed her concern with the promotion’s plan to oversee the event on April 18th.
“I’m concerned by reports that the Ultimate Fighting Championship plans to hold a pay-per-view event in California, in defiance of the state’s shelter-in-place order. This event would involve dozens of individuals flying to California and driving to a casino for a purpose on one can honestly claim is essential.”
“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.”
“I call on Ultimate Fighting Championship and the Tachi-Yokut Tribe to reconsider this event and delay it until a later date. We have to be responsible and mindful of all local, state and federal public health guidelines. Going ahead with this event is not the right move.”
The UFC has since issued an official statement regarding the cancellation of the April 18th. showcase.
“While the organisation was fully prepared to proceed with UFC 249, ESPN has requested the postponement of the event and subsequent bouts until further notice in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. UFC looks forward to resuming the full live events schedule as soon as possible.”
More information as we get it.