Overnight, news broke that UFC’s Gilbert Burns (19-3) has been pulled from the headline event at UFC 251 after testing positive for Coronavirus. He was scheduled to face Welterweight Champion Kamaru Usman (16-1) on July 11th. MMA Junkie first reported the news:
“Burns traveled from Florida, where he trained for UFC 251, to Las Vegas. The promotion is using the city as a hub to send athletes overseas to Abu Dhabi, testing them for COVID-19 before flying out to the Middle East. Burns’ test result came back positive, as well as his brother and cornerman, Herbert Burns, and coach Greg Jones. All three men did not board the charter fight leaving Las Vegas.”
Burns originally earned the title shot after defeating Tyron Woodley (19-5-1) in May at UFC Fight Night.
Prior to the the card being announced, the UFC was attempting to put together a headline event between Usman and Jorge Masvidal (35-13). After negotiations fell through between Masvidal and the UFC, Burns stepped in.
At this time, no announcement has been made on whether Usman will have a replacement opponent for next week’s bout. Other title fights at UFC 251 include Alexander Volkanovski vs Max Holloway, and Petr Yan vs Jose Aldo.