Dana White tells TMZ Sports UFC 249 is officially postponed and will NOT take place as planned on April 18.
But, "Fight Island" is still very real and in the works, White says.
The UFC honcho says because of coronavirus concerns ... high-ranking execs at both ESPN and Disney advised him to hold off on the April 18 fight card.
"I got a call from as high up as you can go at Disney asking not to do this event on April 18," White said.
The plan had been for the fights -- headlined by Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje -- to go forward at Tachi Palace Casino Resort in Lemoore, Calif.
But, Dana says he's going to listen to his partners at ESPN ... and call off the fights for now.
"One thing you’ve heard me say is how awesome this relationship has been with ESPN," White says. "So when they call and ask me to not go, obviously, I'm going to respect it and not go."
As we previously reported ... White was going forward with the fights despite losing Khabib Nurmagomedov -- who withdrew from the card after expressing concern over COVID-19.
The card also lost another headliner in Rose Namajunas on Thursday, when she officially pulled out after she lost family members due to the coronavirus.
White tells us he's ain't laying off UFC staff despite the cancellations ... and guaranteed UFC cards would be back shortly.
"We will be the first sport back on television," White said.
As for "Fight Island" -- White says it's "really happening ... the infrastructure is being built right now on the island."
"When this thing is ready, it's going to be bad ass. It's going to be incredible. And we're just gonna start running fights as soon as that thing is finished."
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