On Thursday afternoon, UFC president Dana White announced plans to cancel UFC 249, which was set to take place on April 18.
Earlier this week, White appeared on several ESPN shows hyping up the fight. Although he avoided revealing where the fight would take place, it was scheduled to go on.
However, the higher ups at ESPN appear to have weighed in and made their presence felt. White said he heard from ESPN and Disney execs who did not want the fight to take place.
“Today, we got a call from the highest level you can go at Disney, and the highest level at ESPN,” White said about the decision to cancel the event. “The powers that be there asked me to stand down and not do this event on Saturday.”
Not long after White announced the cancellation of the event, media insider Andrew Marchand revealed what those ESPN execs told White. According to the New York Post reporter, ESPN told White the timing of the event “didn’t feel right.”
Ultimately, the decision to postpone UFC 249 was White's, but ESPN executives expressed to him that the timing "didn't feel right," according to sources, and White decided to listen.
— Andrew Marchand (@AndrewMarchand) April 9, 2020
All future UFC events were also indefinitely suspended after today’s cancellation.
It’s a tough blow for MMA fans who finally though they’d be able to see their favorite fighters in the Octagon.