California Governor Gavin Newsom Reportedly Put Pressure On Disney/ESPN To Cancel UFC 249

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UFC 249 is not taking place on April 18th after all despite Dana White’s best efforts.

On Thursday night, the UFC president announced that UFC 249, which was set to take place on tribal land at the Tachi Palace in California in less than two weeks got postponed because their broadcast partner ESPN stepped in and told him to “stand down”.

According to the NY Post, California Governor Gavin Newsom, who is currently enforcing a stay-at-home order in the state to combat the spread of the coronavirus, called executives at ESPN’s parent company Disney directly and put pressure on the media giant to cancel the UFC event.

Via NY Post

The Post also learned California Gov. Gavin Newsom played a leading role in getting the event canceled. According to sources, Newsom called Disney chairman Bob Iger and requested ESPN force the UFC to cancel the event set for the Tachi Palace Casino Resort outside of Fresno, Calif.

Sources said ESPN agreed that holding the event at this time “just didn’t feel right.” After speaking with Newson, ESPN executives told White they needed more time to assess what’s going on with the COVID-19 curve, testing procedures and other factors. White had no choice other than to cancel the event.

Despite the setback, White vows that the UFC will be the first back once the health crisis in the country settles down.