UFC president Dana White had been adamant that the promotion would continue to push forward with events amid the coronavirus. White even fired shots at the MMA media for criticizing him for trying to go through with the cards. White went as far as attempting to avoid the California State Athletic Commission and a stay-at-home order by holding UFC 249 in tribal land.
“Big” John Talks UFC Postponing Events
Ultimately, pressure from Disney, ESPN, and the state of California forced the postponement of UFC 249 and future events for the time being. Taking to the Weighing In podcast, McCarthy said White’s hand was forced (via MMAJunkie.com).
“You can win battles and lose wars,” McCarthy said. “And that’s what in the end has happened here is politically, you need to understand, when you’re going against the government, you’re probably going to go against something that in the end is probably going to cause you a problem. And if you think that you could beat that? We couldn’t beat it in the past. It was a lot of problems and it caused problems for the UFC in the past, caused problems for the sport, and you start getting senators, you’re getting governors coming down on you?
“There’s lot of power there, man. And eventually Disney and ESPN said this is bad publicity, this is bad for us, we’re going to shut it down. It wasn’t Dana that shut it down, it was his bosses that basically shut it down.”
White is still in the process of securing a private island once ESPN gives the UFC the green light to continue running events. White plans to use the island for international fighters as well as other cards if they can’t find a venue.