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UFC 249 Cancelled By ESPN And Disney

UFC 249 Cancelled By ESPN And Disney

UFC 249 has been cancelled after broadcaster ESPN and its owner, Disney, intervened to overrule UFC president Dana White’s plans to stage the event despite COVID-19 (Coronavirus) fears.

White had recently announced the event was scheduled next weekend at the Tachi Palace Casino Resort, located on Native American land around 200 miles (320km) north-west of Los Angeles, after the event was refused by New York’s Barclay’s Center.

ESPN and Disney stepped in to cancel the event despite White securing a new location, due to the reputational damage that staging it would bring, in addition to the risk to people’s safety if it had gone ahead.

White said he was still prepared to stage the event, regardless of the widespread criticism of his actions, but values his partnership with Disney and ESPN.

“I was ready to go on Saturday, but Disney and ESPN asked me to step down,” White said.

“The powers that be there asked me to stand down and not do this event next Saturday.

“I love and respect my partnership with them, so I postponed the event.

“[I] got a call from the highest level you can go at Disney and the highest level of ESPN,” he said.

ESPN released a statement following the decision, indicating this wasn’t a sudden choice.

“ESPN has been in constant contact with the UFC regarding UFC 249,” the statement said.

“Nobody wants to see sports return more than we do, but we didn’t feel this was the right time for a variety of reasons.

“ESPN expressed its concerns to the UFC, and they understood,” ESPN said.

White said while this event was cancelled, he is grateful for the Tachi Palace Casino Resort and plans to stage a “big fight” at the venue in the future to thank them for coming to the UFC’s aid at short notice.

“Tachi Palace has had our back this whole time, has stood their ground and was willing to do this fight,” White said.

“Let me tell you this, when the world gets back to normal the California event will be at Tachi Palace.

“I’m doing a fight there, I’m bringing them a big fight and I appreciate them standing with me in this thing,” he said.

Despite the decision to cancel UFC 249, White said he still plans to hold weekly events at a secret private island for international fighters unable to enter the US due to travel restrictions, as announced last week.

“All of my fighters that are under contract with me, I want them to feel safe,” White said.

“Take time with your families and 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.

“I’m going to take care of as many people as I possibly can.

“Nobody is getting laid off at the UFC.

“Everybody is good,” White said.

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