The New York Times reports that the UFC 249 is postponed because of California Gov. Gavin Newsom. The widely respected newspapers are saying that Gov. Newsom personally intervened to prevent this event from happening.
Last night we heard Dana White saying that the UFC 249, which was supposed to take place at Tachi Resort located on Tachi-Yokut tribal land, is postponed indefinitely.
“And today we got a call from the highest level you can go at Disney and the highest level of ESPN…. ESPN has been very, very good to us, and the powers that be there asked me to stand down and not do this event next Saturday.”
New reporting: UFC 249 was canceled after California Gov. Gavin Newsom called Disney to express his concerns with the event https://t.co/0atLYDbt77
— Kevin Draper (@kevinmdraper) April 10, 2020
At first, it was a shock to hear that the event won’t happen. But after the initial confusion, many were wondering why did ESPN want to stop the fights, as they too would have a massive income generated from this event. At the moment, apart from virtual sports, there isn’t much live-action in the world, and especially in the United States. The pay-per-view bill for UFC 249 was set to be at $64.99, and there is no doubt that the revenue from this source would be measured in hundreds of millions of dollars.
The New York Times revealed that according to their sources, California Gov. Newsom called the leading executives of Disney company and insisted on using their influence on Dana White and the UFC organization. Disney holds 80% of ESPN, who is the biggest partner of the UFC. They have a $1.5 billion contract for airing events, and also ESPN holds the right to sell UFC’s PPV streams.
Meanwhile, Disney is based in the state of California, where they have significant business investments and a vast deal of their studios, and other resources essential for their functioning.
According to the NYT, the Governor’s office and ESPN didn’t have any comments on this information. The network released a statement in the meantime, saying that they felt there were a lot of reasons for the event to be canceled.
“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.”
White managed to get behind all the regulations and to solve all the problems which prevented UFC 249 from happening. In the end, he found the location at the tribal land, which allowed him to put the event in California, even though the state authorities banned all sports events from taking place on its soil.
Khabib Nurmagomedov’s absence from the headliner was compensated with Justin Gaethje stepping in to replace the champion. He and Tony Ferguson were to fight for the interim lightweight belt, and whoever won this battle, would later have a chance to unify the title. The card also included a heavyweight title-eliminator between Francis Ngannou and Jairzinho Rozenstruik. This clash was the headliner of the canceled UFC on ESPN 8, and once it was revealed that the UFC 249 would feature it, one part of the fans went wild.
Unfortunately, the fans won’t get to see this on April 18. White stated that all the events are suspended indefinitely and that he doesn’t have any time frame for the comeback. He also added that all the employees and the fighters won’t experience any financial problems and that the organization will continue to fulfill its financial obligations as usual.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.