Earlier this week, we wondered about the fate of UFC 249. And now, we have a definitive answer.
UFC president Dana White was finally forced to cancel the promotion of numerous upcoming events for the UFC, thanks to a call from California Governor Gavin Newsom.
White reluctantly announced that the UFC would postpone all upcoming shows indefinitely, starting with UFC 249 scheduled on April 18, that was set to be headlined by Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje for the interim lightweight title. The show was supposed to take place at the Tachi Palace Resort and Casino, which sits on a Native American reservation in California, and is not pertinent to state jurisdiction.
While state government can’t interfere with events being held on tribal land, according to a new report from the New York Times, Gov. Newsom felt compelled to make a call to Disney to express his concerns. Specific details surrounding the call were not revealed. Keep in mind – Disney owns ESPN, which is the UFC’s broadcast partner.
The call from Gov. Newsom to Disney may have been what prompted a meeting with White, in which he was asked to postpone the upcoming events. White admitted he absolutely planned to move ahead with events as scheduled, including hosting international fighters on fight cards to be held on a private island – that is, until he talked to executives from Disney and ESPN.
There’s no word on when the UFC will return, but White has promised that his organization will be the first major sport to begin holding events again.