Cameroonian heavyweight contender Francis Ngannou, who was expected to take on Jairzinho Rozenstruik in the featured preliminary bout of the night, tweeted his support, saying, “April 18th might not be happening but everything is ok, I’m personally happy and proud of the dedication and commitment of the @ufc and @danawhite. Thank you for trying so hard #StayStrong #UFC249”
Former UFC flyweight title challenger Ray Borg was also set for action on April 18 before the event was eventually pulled. He tweeted a graphic with an extended message where he paid tribute to UFC president Dana White and the UFC team for their attempts to keep the event alive.
“I was ready to take the risk to support my family, and give the fans stuck at home something to watch,” his message began.
“They could have made me stay in California quarantined after the fight and I wouldn’t have cared as long as my family was taken care of. I had to pay an ophthalmologist extra to give me an eye exam under the table for this event and was about to drive three hours out of town for my medicals.
“We all have mouths to feed and I can’t thank Dana enough for giving myself ant the other fighters on this card the opportunity to step up and let me provide for our families.
“To all the turds who didn’t think I was going to make weight I was only a few pounds out from 135.”
Welterweight fighter Belal Muhammad took aim at people on social media who he accused of “celebrating” the decision, saying, “I trained 3 times a day wherever I could, dieted hard while stuck in quarantine, lost my opponent said yes to whoever else they can find, put my health on the line knowing there was a chance it wouldnt happen because I love what I do I’m a fighter. if your celebrating this ef u.”
Former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman was typically more level-headed, simply tweeting, “I just accepted my 3rd opponent in a week… sucks. Stay safe everyone!”
Sam Alvey was due to fight in the opening fight of the night, and expressed similar sentiments to his fellow colleagues as he thanked the UFC for attempting to put the show on.
But possibly the most level-headed response from the UFC roster came from bantamweight contender Aljamain Sterling, who tweeted, “Sad for the fighters and fans who got their hopes up for this. But maybe it’s best to give this virus more time to blow over.
“It’s probably bitter-sweet for many of the workers and fighters scheduled to scrap. We all want to make money, but we want to protect our families too.”
And if Dana White’s plan to continue preparing to host events on his private “Fight Island” also falls flat, Las Vegas middleweight Julian Marquez has suggested he step in to fill the void with some rather less-professionally produced action of his own.
“UFC249 has taken me on an emotional rollercoaster! I can’t take this sh*t,” he tweeted.
“Imma start hosting backyard brawls on IG live.”