Disney/ESPN forces UFC to cancel UFC 249

By Vito Basile

It’s been a rollercoaster the past few weeks in the UFC, with UFC Lightweight Champ Khabib Nurmagomedov forced to pull out against Tony Ferguson, UFC 249 getting cancelled multiple times but UFC President Dana White assuring fans that it’s going to happen, and most importantly the location of UFC 249 was a complete unknown. I give credit though, Dana White did pull through and put together a solid card for UFC 249 with lightweight contender Justin Gaethje, filling in for Khabib, and making it an interim Lightweight title fight between Ferguson and Gaethje.

With UFC 249 greenlit for April 18th, the question remained the same, where will this event take place. White had come out and said that he was purchasing an island, you read that correctly, an island to host all UFC events going forward if the restrictions were still in place due to COVID-19. As that info started to pour onto social media, so did the meme’s, including ones that referred to White as Mortal Kombat villain Shang Tsung, and the private island to be considered “Fight Island”.

Social Media ran wild including fighters themselves poking fun at White and what was now known as “Fight Island”. With “Fight Island” sounding like the location for UFC 249, more reports started to trickle out that it wouldn’t take place at “Fight Island” but in fact would take place on tribal land, in Cali, at the Tachi Palace Casino Resort according to sources.

Not all fans were pleased to know that UFC 249 was going to happen, there were still some that were extremely skeptical and against this from taking place. Dana White was taking a lot of flak from assuring this was going to happen, causing him to keep the location unknown for as long as he could to not allow any government interference.

 Once information leaked, it was the beginning of the end of UFC 249, causing Disney/ESPN top dawgs to step in, forcing Dana White to cancel UFC 249. Once news broke that UFC 249 was cancelled, there was an outpouring of support for both, the fighters, and the decision made by Disney/ESPN, there was also some relief by fans, because as bad as they wanted UFC 249 to happen, most fans still really wanted to see Ferguson v. Khabib, which now looks like that will still happen but when, that is the unknown part.

As for White and the UFC, going forward White has been adamant about purchasing “Fight Island” for all international events. It will be interesting to say the least, about what the UFC decides to do, and when will the UFC, or any sport for that matter, resume as normal? I’m afraid there is no answer or timeline for that right now.