The Coronavirus outbreak has finally gotten to the UFC. Earlier this week, Dana White announced earlier this week that Justin Gaethje would step in at short notice to fight Tomy Ferguson. He also announced a pretty stacked card for UFC 249.
Although Dana White kept the venue a secret, the New York Times published a report stating that the fights would take place at Tachi Palace Casino Resort in Lemoore, California. However, because of pressure from higher-ups at ESPN and Disney, Dana White has to postpone all events until further notice.
Speaking to ESPN‘s Brett Okamoto, UFC president Dana White revealed that the top brass at ESPN and Disney made the decision to postpone the fight cards.
UFC President Dana White spoke to Brett Okamoto about #UFC249 no longer taking place on April 18.
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) April 9, 2020
“I told you this whole thing has been a battle since Day 1,” White said. “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. 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.”
UFC will take care of its fighters and employees: Dana White
UFC president Dana White made it clear that no UFC employee would be laid off amidst the pandemic. He also assured the fighters that they would be taken care of by the organisation.
“One other thing I really want to point out is: 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 on April 18. I’m going to take care of as many people as I possibly can and do whatever it takes to make all of these guys feel comfortable.
“All of my employees – nobody is getting laid off at the UFC. Everybody is good. We will be the first sport back. Fight island is real. It’s a real thing. The infrastructure is being built right now, and that’s really going to happen. It will be on ESPN.” (H/T – MMAJunkie)