California Governor Gavin Newsom prompted the call by the UFC to ultimately cancel UFC 249 and the events set after that, according to a report by The New York Times.
The UFC released a statement Thursday saying that broadcast partner ESPN, which is owned by Disney, asked that they call off the event scheduled for next weekend at Tachi Palace Casino Resort in California. While Newsom has already declared a stay-at-home in the state, the resort – owned by private land – is exempt.
UFC president Dana White, though, agreed, telling MMAjunkie “ESPN has been an amazing partner to us since Day 1, and them asking me to stand down, there’s no way I wouldn’t not do it.”
Newsom, according to the report, made a call to Disney himself, asking that the events be scrapped from taking place at the resort. Disney’s main studio headquarters are located in Burbank, California.
All of this, of course, is over the widespread pandemic known as COVID-19. The UFC held an event in Brazil last month, and has been pushing forward with UFC 249 ever since despite issues in travel, finding a location and fighters pulling out due to the virus.