Despite securing a location for UFC 249 on an Indian Reservation in Santa Rosa California Dana White had to eventually succumb and put profit aside for the time being, irrespective of how much he may have been pained by the cancellation of the much anticipated UFC event.
The main fight was originally meant to be between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson. Khabib “The Eagle” as he is known is from Dagestan a Republic of Russia in the North Caucasus region. Whilst training in camp in the US, Khabib’s team was advised that due to the Coronavirus outbreak the fight would most probably take place in the UAE. Undeterred plans were made to have the event in the Middle East, only for the authorities there to also close their borders due to the virus.
Khabib ended up back in Russia and Dana was left to piece together the tournament as best as he could despite the main attraction Khabib, the reigning UFC Lightweight Champion not being able to attend.
California Governor Gavin Newsom as well as the management of ESPN and Disney told Dana to stand down and not hold the event given the situation engulfing the Country.
Dana and the UFC have purportedly secured an Island for future International fights and confirmed that the infrastructure is currently being built. They aim to be prepared in the future to ensure nothing comes in the way of hosting their fights that attract huge pay- per- view numbers on ESPN.
There were elaborate plans in place with screening all involved for the virus, special rules and medical facilities in place where social distancing could still be practiced somewhat. However this was all a little too far- fetched given the situation that is being experienced with thousands dying and the healthcare system under siege.
Ultimately ESPN made the decision and advised Dana that there would not be an event resulting in UFC 249 being cancelled.
As for Khabib Nurmagomedov who prior was being accused of being scared to fight Tony Ferguson, his famous catchphrase is all the more relevant. “ Send me location “.