UFC 249 has been cancelled and all future events postponed indefinitely because of coronavirus.

UFC president Dana White was adamant next weekend's fight night would go ahead despite the global pandemic that has seen sports leagues around the world grind to a halt.

White repeatedly dismissed the seriousness of coronavirus, attacking the media for fear-mongering while saying the show must go on.

But on Friday morning it was confirmed the UFC could no longer march to the beat of its own drum.


White was so desperate for UFC 249 and further events to go ahead he was reportedly going to purchase a private island to stage fights — a plan which ultimately fell through when he picked up his phone today.

"This whole thing has been a battle since day one. We've been fighting all day and all night since this pandemic started to put on this event," White told ESPN's Brett Okamoto.

"Today we got a call from the highest level you can go at Disney, and the highest level at (UFC TV broadcast partner) ESPN ... and the powers that be there asked me to stand down and not do this event next Saturday."

Despite what seemed like an inevitable cancellation, White was already optimistic about the future and said fighters will be looked after.

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"Don't worry about the financial part of this. You're going to get the fights on your contract. I'm going to make things right for the people who were willing to fight next weekend," White said.

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"We will be the first sport back. Fight island is real. It's a real thing. The infrastructure's being built right now, and that's really going to happen. And it will be on ESPN."

The announcement fights have been cancelled comes after former women's strawweight champion Rose Namajunas pulled out of her co-headline bout against Jessica Andrade at UFC 249 because of two coronavirus deaths in her family.


Namajunas' manager Brian Butler wrote on social media: "@rosenamajunas withdrew from UFC 249 due to 2 deaths in the family related to the Coronavirus. Her hopes are to return to the Octagon as soon as possible but for now we ask for people to respect their privacy during this time."

Khabib Nurmagomedov, unable to leave Russia over the country's coronavirus travel ban, was the first big name to come off the fight card. His mega-fight with Tony Ferguson was rebooked as Ferguson against Justin Gaethje in an interim lightweight title bout.