Gilbert Burns will no longer be fighting Kamaru Usman on July 11 for the welterweight title.
The UFC is set to go to Fight Island for the month of July, and for fighters on UFC 251, they were taking a charter plane beforehand. But, they had to take a COVID-19 test before they got onto the flight and Burns has tested positive meaning his fight against Usman has been canceled. MMAJunkie was first to report the news.
According to the MMAJunkie report, Burns traveled from Florida while he and two of his cornerman tested positive.
“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,” the report said.
Gilbert Burns was entering the fight going 4-0 since moving up to welterweight where last time out beat Tyron Woodley in May to become the number one contender. The Brazilian also knocked out Demian Maia earlier this year after winning short notice bouts against Gunnar Nelson and Alexey Kunchenko.
This was obviously a massive fight for Burns who was fighting for UFC gold for the first time. He was also taking on his teammate and friend in Usman. But, Aung La N Sang, who trains at Sanford MMA tested positive many wondered if Burns also contracted the virus.
For Kamaru Usman, he was looking to defend his belt for the second time after beating Colby Covington at UFC 245. He switched camps to Denver ahead of this bout as well.
With Usman vs. Burns off, Alex Volkanovski vs. Max Holloway 2 will now serve as the main event. Petr Yan vs. Jose Aldo will be the co-main.
It is likely the UFC will re-book this fight sometime down the line.
Cole Shelton covers MMA for BJPenn.com, MMANews, and MyMMANews.com while also being the lead MMA odds writer for Sports Betting Dime