UFC 251’s top fight gets hit with the coronavirus.
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UPDATE 7/6/20: Masvidal passes his COVID-19 test and is cleared to fight Usman.
Pedro Munhoz has tested positive for COVID-19 and is OUT of his fight with Frankie Edgar.
UPDATE 7/5/20: Jorge Masvidal will replace Gilbert Burns to take on Kamaru Usman for the welterweight championship at UFC 251 per ESPN’s Ariel Helwani.
Of course, Masvidal needs to pass his COVID-19 tests prior to flying out to Yas Island, but think about this… Masvidal is fighting the top welterweight in the world on one week’s notice, across the other side of the world, in the middle of a pandemic. There has never been a more appropriate nickname for a fighter than Gamebred.
Negotiations for Usman vs. Masvidal are done, per sources. All sides agreed to terms. Usman is en route to LV; Masvidal landed earlier. Once at the hotel, they’ll have to take a COVID test and then quarantine while awaiting results. If negative, they’ll fly to AD likely tomorrow.— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) July 5, 2020
Original Story: Top contender Gilbert Burns (18-3 MMA, 12-3 UFC) is out of his UFC 251 main event welterweight title match with champion Kamaru Usman (16-1 MMA, 11-0 UFC) due to a positive COVID-19, per MMAJunkie.com’s Mike Bohn.
UFC has not officially confirmed Burns’ positive test as of press time, but the fighter did address the news via Twitter: “Devastating news, not feeling well but I’m going to win this battle! Stay safe out there! Much love.”
Burns and his team flew from Florida to Las Vegas, where he received his positive test per the report. Let’s hope no one else on the flight/airports is affected by this.
The UFC now has exactly one week to find a new opponent for Usman, but the odds of that happening are tough, considering UFC 251 takes place all the way in Yas Island aka Fight Island in the United Arab Emirates. It would be one hell of a story of Jorge Masvidal were to step in on short notice despite his contractual issues with UFC.
Here’s the updated UFC 251 card as of press time:
- UFC Featherweight Championship: Alexander Volkanovski (c) vs. Max Holloway rematch
- Vacant UFC Bantamweight Championship: Petr Yan vs. José Aldo
- Shamil Abdurakhimov vs. Ciryl Gane
Frankie Edgar vs. Pedro Munhoz
- Rose Namajunas vs. Jéssica Andrade rematch
- Paige VanZant vs. Amanda Ribas
- Volkan Oezdemir vs. Jiří Procházka
- Muslim Salikhov vs. Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos
- Makwan Amirkhani vs. Danny Henry
- Roman Bogatov vs. Leonardo Santos
- Alexander Romanov vs. Marcin Tybura
- Raulian Paiva vs. Zhalgas Zhumagulov
- Vanessa Melo vs. Karol Rosa
- Martin Day vs. Davey Grant
-We want to send our deepest condolences to UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, who lost his father/trainer Abdulmanap at 57.
Check out our interview with former UFC fighter Chael Sonnen: