ESPN/Disney forces UFC, Dana White to stand down

By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher

According to ESPN, UFC has been forced to postpone all fight cars indefinitely. Dana White announced on Thursday — two days after he announced that UFC 249 would continue on April 18th — that the fight would no longer take place.

White said he received two phone calls on Thursday. One was from a high-ranking executive with Disney and the second was a high-ranking executive with ESPN. Disney owns ESPN.

Disney Logo
Disney Logo (Photo by Disney)

The UFC President had said that April 18th fight would be on ESPN. Now, with everything suspended indefinitely, it is not clear when their next fight will be with the coronavirus going on.

“Today, we got a call from the highest level you can go at Disney, and the highest level at ESPN … and the powers that be there asked me to stand down and not do this event on Saturday,” White said.

It was previously reported this week that White had planned to host events in the United States. The location was the Tachi Palace Casino Resort in Lemoore, California, which is near Fresno, California.

White said that those officials have been behind him this whole time. And a fight card, which he is able to have fight cards again, will be at that location.

“It’s been a battle since day one,” White admitted. “We’ve been fighting non-stop all day and and all night, since this pandemic started, to put on this event on April 18th. Tachi Palace in California, the Indian reservation, has had our back this whole time, has stood their ground, and was willing to do this fight. And let me tell you this: When the world gets back to normal, California, that [fight] will be at Tachi Palace.”

The UFC 249 fight card was supposed to feature interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje. It was originally scheduled to be Ferguson vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov; however, due to the coronavirus pandemic; he was not able to leave Russia.

It was also supposed to feature “Thug Rose” Namajunas and Jessica Andrade. However, due to coronavirus-related deaths in her family with two family members, Namajunas pulled out of the fight.

A heavyweight clash was also on the card with Francis Ngannou vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik. The Surinamese fighter last fought in December and gave Alistair Overeem a nasty cut on his lip from a punch on December 7th, 2019 that ended their heavyweight battle.

Ngannou has been out of action since last June when he defeated Junior dos Santos.

UFC has had to postpone four events now due to the coronavirus. This includes March 21st, March 28th, April 11th and April 18th.

“All of my fighters that are under contract with me, I want them to feel safe, take time with your families, and enjoy this time,” White said Thursday. “Don’t worry about the financial part of this. You’re gonna get the fights in your contract, and I’m gonna make things right with the people who were willing to step up and fight next weekend on April 18th.

“And I’m gonna take care of as many people as I possibly can, and do whatever it takes to make these guys all feel comfortable.”

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