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ESPN releases statement on UFC 249 postponement

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

UFC 249 and all upcoming UFC events have been postponed indefinitely as the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc across the world.

Regardless of the current COVID-19 outbreak, the UFC was still orchestrating a series of events that would be held behind closed doors at the Tachi Palace Casino and Resort in Lemoore, Calif.

That all changed on Thursday when UFC president Dana White revealed that he was postponing all of the upcoming shows after he had a meeting with top executives from both Disney and ESPN.

ESPN is the broadcast partner of the UFC in the United States for both television and pay-per-view.

According to White, ESPN asked him to “stand down” when it came to his plans to move forward with an aggressive event schedule starting on April 18. Now ESPN has issued a statement to MMA Fighting regarding the decision to postpone the cards.

“ESPN has been in constant contact with the UFC regarding UFC 249,” ESPN officials said in the statement. “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.”

While the UFC hit the pause button for now, White has said that he still plans on bringing the promotion back to life ahead of every other major sport in the world. Numerous sports leagues have suspended play due to the coronavirus pandemic including the NBA and NHL.

Major League Baseball and the NFL have also made changes to their upcoming scheduled as well.

There’s still no word when any of those leagues will get back to regularly scheduled games, but White has promised the UFC will begin promoting events again in the near future. He said the UFC has even started construction on a “fight island” where events can be held outside the United States in the near future.

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