We were less than two weeks away before the UFC was set to return to action with UFC 249, but then UFC President Dana White revealed that he was asked to stand down, while canceling UFC 249 and postponing future UFC cards due to the coronavirus.
There was a lot of resistance against the UFC running the events in light of the coronavirus, with California Senator Dianne Feinstein and Dutch TV station Talpa among them.
ESPN and Disney were the ones who asked White to stand down and ESPN has now issued a statement as to why that decision was made (via MMA Junkie):
“ESPN has been in constant contact with the UFC regarding UFC 249. Nobody wants to see sports return more than we do, but we didn’t feel this was the right time for a variety of reasons. ESPN expressed its concerns to the UFC, and they understood.”
The UFC also issued a statement, which says:
“While the organization was fully prepared to proceed with UFC 249, ESPN has requested the postponement of the event and subsequent bouts until further notice in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. UFC looks forward to resuming the full live events schedule as soon as possible.”
White does expect the promotion to resume a schedule in approximately one month, as the promotion is building a “Fight Island” to hold shows at.