Gilbert Burns has been pulled from his main event UFC 251 fight against Kamaru Usman after testing positive for COVID-19. First reported by Mike Bohn on MMA Junkie, a test of Burns was flagged in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA before he was set to travel to Yas Island, Abu Dhabi for his July 11th fight.
Following the positive test, Burns did not board a plane that would have sent him to Abu Dhabi for UFC 251. His opponent, Usman, did not board his flight either, per a report from John Morgan of MMA Junkie.
UFC’s procedure for their “Fight Island” events in Abu Dhabi includes numerous tests, including one done 48-hours before the fighter flies to the event. UFC has yet to release a statement on Burns’ positive test or if they intend to find a new opponent for Burns.
Burns was set to challenge Usman for the UFC Welterweight Championship atop a three-championship pay-per-view card. His last fight was in late May, defeating former champion Tyron Woodley to cement himself as the top contender in the 170-pound division.
UFC 251 still has two title fights set for it, including a rematch between UFC Featherweight Champion Alexander Volkanovski and former champion Max Holloway. The 12-fight card looks like this currently.
Bout 12: Alexander Volkanovski (21-1) vs. Max Holloway (21-5) (UFC Featherweight Championship)
Bout 11: Petr Yan (14-1) vs. Jose Aldo (28-6) (Vacant UFC Bantamweight Championship)
Bout 10: Jessica Andrade (20-7) vs. Rose Namajunas (8-4) (Strawweight)
Bout 9: Paige VanZant (8-4) vs. Amanda Ribas (9-1) (Flyweight)
Bout 8: Volkan Oezdemir (17-4) vs. Jiri Prochazka (26-3-1) (Light Heavyweight)
Bout 7: Elizeu Zaleski (22-6) vs. Muslim Salikhov (16-2) (Welterweight)
Bout 6: Makwan Amirkhani (15-4) vs. Danny Henry (12-3) (Featherweight)
Bout 5: Leonardo Santos (17-3-1) vs. Roman Bogatov (10-0) (Lightweight)
Bout 4: Marcin Tybura (18-6) vs. Alexander Romanov (11-0) (Heavyweight)
Bout 3: Zhalgas Zhumagulov (13-3) vs. Raulian Paiva (19-3) (Flyweight)
Bout 2: Vanessa Melo (10-7) vs. Karol Rosa (12-3) (Bantamweight)
Bout 1: Martin Day (9-3) vs. Davey Grant (9-4) (Bantamweight)