UFC 251: Gilbert Burns out of Fight Island main event after testing positive for COVID-19, per report


The Fight Island era of UFC events is off to a rocky start as Gilbert Burns has tested positive for COVID-19 and is out of his planned UFC 251 main event with Kamaru Usman, MMA Junkie reported late on Friday. The news comes just one week before the fighters were set to square off in a main event clash for Usman’s UFC welterweight championship

Burns had become something of a poster-boy for the UFC’s COVID era, emerging victorious in bouts against Demian Maia and former welterweight champion Tyron Woodley to earn his shot at Usman and the welterweight title at UFC 251. The pair are longtime teammates, but when financial negotiations broke down between the UFC and Jorge Masvidal, Burns got the call for a third fight in a five-month stretch.

After a training camp in Florida, Burns and his camp flew to Las Vegas, one of four “hub cities” from which fighters will fly to Abu Dhabi for the four events on what the UFC has dubbed “Fight Island.” Upon arrival in Las Vegas, Burns, his brother Herbert and one of his coaches reportedly tested positive for the virus.

Upon Burns being pulled from the event, Usman also did not board his flight to Abu Dhabi with uncertainty swirling over whether the fight will be rescheduled or if the UFC would manage to pull a replacement opponent to challenge for the welterweight championship.

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