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UFC 249 canceled after ESPN, Disney halt promotion’s plans

/ 07:20 AM April 10, 2020

LOS ANGELES  — UFC 249 has been canceled after ESPN and parent company Disney stopped UFC President Dana White’s plan to keep fighting amid the coronavirus pandemic.

FILE – In this July 19, 2018, file photo, UFC fighter Rose Namajunas arrives at the Kids’ Choice Sports Awards in Santa Monica, Calif. The manager of Rose Namajunas says the former UFC strawweight champion won’t fight at UFC 249 on April 18 after two deaths in her family related to the coronavirus pandemic. Brian Butler posted the news on Instagram on Thursday, April 9, 2020. (Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP, File)

After defiantly vowing for weeks to maintain a regular schedule of fights, White announced the decision to cease competition Thursday on ESPN, the UFC’s broadcast partner in a reported $1.5 billion deal.

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UFC 249 was scheduled for April 18, and White planned to follow it with weekly fight cards from Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino on tribal land in California’s Central Valley.

White says he “got a call from the highest level you can go at Disney and the highest level of ESPN” on Thursday asking him to stop his efforts. The UFC moved to ESPN in 2019.

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