On deadline, after a crazy week of changes, Dana White announced that UFC 249 would not be taking place on 4/18 due to pressure from television partner ESPN.
“Today we got a call from the highest level you can go at Disney and the highest level of ESPN,” White said in an interview with Brett Okamoto on 4/9. “One thing that I’ve said since we’ve started our relationship and partnership with ESPN is that it’s been an incredible one. It’s been an amazing partnership.
“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.”
White had announced a full card for UFC 249 and that it would be going on at a secret location on 4/18 as planned, although not with the planned Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson main event. He said the planned card was not canceled, but simply postponed until they can build the facilities on a secret island, which he calls Fight Island, and they would start running weekly at that point.