New York, April 10 (IANS) UFC 249 has been cancelled after weeks of back and forth on the headliners and the location amid the coronavirus pandemic. The UFC said in a statement that while it was fully prepared to go ahead with the event, ESPN and Disney requested the postponement until further notice.
UFC 249 was scheduled to take place on April 18 and UFC president Dana White planned to follow it with regular fight cards from Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino on tribal land in California’s Central Valley.
However, he told ESPN that he got a call from the higher ups in Disney and ESPN that the fight needs to be cancelled.
The event was originally slated to have a lightweight championship match between Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov. The latter had to eventually pull out due to travel restrictions in his native Russia which led to UFC scrambling to find a replacement and bringing in American Justin Gaethje.
The UFC planned to stage the fights in an empty arena owned by the Santa Rosa Indian Community of the Tachi Yokut Tribe. “Tachi Palace has had our back this whole time, has stood their ground and was willing to do this fight,” White told ESPN.
USA has become the epicentre of the spread of coronavirus. As of Friday, the country has recorded 466,299 coronavirus cases, the highest in the world, and 16,686 deaths.