The Ultimate Fighting Championship received requests from ESPN and Disney executives and decided to abandon putting on UFC 249 on April 18.
The event was scheduled to take place at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York and feature a lightweight title fight between champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson as the main event. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was forbid to take place in New York. The fight promotion scrambled to find a new location but was determined put on the fight card. Nurmagomedov pulled out of the event due to travel restrictions in Russia and Justin Gaethje stepped in to face Ferguson in an interim title bout.
The event was going to take place at Tachi Palace Casino Resort in Lemoore, Calif. On Thursday, UFC president Dana White made the announcement that the organization decided to postpone the event. The fight promotion released a statement about the cancellation.
“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,” read the statement.
— UFC (@ufc) April 9, 2020