It looks like Gilbert Burns won’t be challenging for a world title on ‘Fight Island’ after all. The planned UFC 251 main event between reigning welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and challenger Burns is now off. This news comes in lieu of ‘Durinho’ contracting the coronavirus. Multiple individuals close to the situation initially reported this news to MMA Junkie.
Burns is riding a six-fight win streak with a 4-0 run in UFC’s welterweight class. Statement wins over Demian Maia and Tyron Woodley in his last two outings netted him this July 11th. title shot. This after negotiations failed to work out for a Kamaru Usman vs. Jorge Masvidal championship bout.
The surging title contender tested positive in Las Vegas after traveling over from his training grounds in Florida. Also, two cornermen of his, brother Herbert Burns and coach Greg Jones, tested positive for COVID-19 as well. Burns took to social media to address the situation succinctly. The tweet reads as follows:
Multiple people have already stepped up to replace Burns in the title bout. The aforementioned Jorge Masvidal and the last man to challenge for the gold, Colby Covington have thrown their respective hats into the proverbial ring, however, it seems like the promotion wants to reschedule Burns and Usman for a later card.
As fight fans look towards this Abu Dhabi-based card, it’s hard not to realize how rocked the MMA community has been from coronavirus lately. This is not the only recent fight cancellation to come as a result of the virus. It seems like Burns is handling the situation as best as he can. He’s at least injecting some level of humor into the situation to alleviate some of the negativity.
The new headliner for this Yas Island pay per view card is the rematch between former champion Max Holloway and reigning featherweight king Alexander Volkanovski. The co-main event bout will be José Aldo and Petr Yan vying for the vacant UFC bantamweight crown.