“UFC 249″ will be on ESPN in California, United States but not on April 18, 2020, Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White has confirmed. He explained the decision to cancel the mixed martial arts event amid the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in an interview with ESPN journalist Brett Okamoto.
“I told you this whole thing has been a battle since Day 1,” White told Okamoto. “We’ve been fighting non-stop all day and all night since this pandemic started to put on this event on April 18 and today we got a call from the highest level you can go at Disney and the highest level of ESPN. One thing that I’ve said since we started our relationship and partnership with ESPN and it’s been an incredible one.”
“It’s been an amazing partnership,” White continued. “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. We’re ready to go.”
Prior to the “UFC 249” cancellation, White was mum about the location of the event but in the interview with Okamoto, the UFC president confirmed that it was supposed to be at the Tachi Palace Casino Resort in Lemoore, California. It is located in a land that belongs to the Tachi-Yokut Tribe, which is part of the federally recognized Santa Rosa Indian Community.
“One thing I need to point out is that Tachi Palace in California, the Indian reservation, has had our back this whole time and has stood their ground and was willing to do this fight,” White revealed. “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,” White continued. “I’m going to bring them a big fight. I appreciate them standing with me in this thing.”
Officials from Disney and ESPN intervened with White’s plan to hold “UFC 249” on April 18, 2020 at the Tachi Palace Casino Resort and on April 9, 2020, California senator Dianne Feinstein urged the UFC and the Tachi-Yokut Tribe to postpone “UFC 249.” She pointed out the need to be “responsible and mindful of all local, state and federal public health guidelines” during the COVID-19 pandemic and noted that going ahead with the event was “not the right move.”
White confirmed that he had obtained an island where fights will be held. He said, “Fight Island is real.”
“The infrastructure is being built right now,” the UFC president continued. “It’s really going to happen and it will be on ESPN. I don’t know. That’s it. That’s where we stand right now.”