UFC president, Dana White canceled UFC 249 yesterday after a call from high.
After negotiating a private island to host UFC fights on, White revealed that a conversation from the highest levels of ESPN and Disney has halted it.
Disney is the parent company of ESPN and UFC is broadcast on the ESPN+ streaming service.
UFC 249: Khabib vs. Tony Ferguson was originally planned for the Barclays Center on April 18th. However, once Governor Andrew Cuomo realized the COVID-19 outbreak would decimate NYC, he canceled all events.
But White would not be deterred as he promised that the show would go on. Unfortunately, circumstances around him kept changing for the bad.
First, UFC commentator Joe Rogan said he would perform his color commentating duties. Then lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov pulled out of the main event.
Travel restrictions in his native Russia stopped his participation. There was light at the end of the tunnel when Justin Gaethje agreed to step up and fight Tony Ferguson.
But then fighter Rose Namajunas backed out due to COVID-19 related illness in her family. Finally, the call was made and White had to concede defeat.
Although Dana White wanted to save sports for fans during this pandemic, cooler heads prevailed for the safety of the athletes, staff, and masses.