BREAKING: UFC 251 Main Event Cancelled as Gilbert Burns and Cornermen Test Positive for Coronavirus

Published 07/04/2020, 12:11 AM EDT


The fighters who were set to compete on UFC’s maiden Fight Island event were all set to board the plane from Las Vegas earlier tonight. However, the organization is following the protocol of rigorous testing to ensure that only healthy fighters enter the enclosed Island. Now it has emerged that the main event of the highly anticipated clash featuring Kamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns, is off.

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UFC 251 Main event called off

As per a tweet by MMA Junkie’s John Morgan the UFC identified a potential medical issue. As a result, neither welterweight boarded the flight. It read, Potential medical issue has been identified in the Kamaru Usman- Gilbert Burns matchup, and neither fighter is boarding the plane to Abu Dhabi tonight for #UFC251. Current plan per sources is to reschedule fight for a later date.”

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Potential medical issue has been identified in the Kamaru Usman- Gilbert Burns matchup, and neither fighter is boarding the plane to Abu Dhabi tonight for #UFC251. Current plan per sources is to reschedule fight for a later date.

— John Morgan (@MMAjunkieJohn) July 4, 2020

A Mike Bohn article on MMA Junkie, claims that the issue is with the top-ranked Welterweight contender Gilbert Burns. The Brazilian has reportedly tested positive for the coronavirus. Besides ‘Durinho’ his brother Herbert Burns, as well as his coach Greg Jones, tested positive. With ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ too not on the plane it seems certain that the UFC has scrapped the 170 lbs clash from UFC 251 card.

As a result, the clash between Max Holloway and Alexander Volkanovski will serve as the main event. Furthermore, the clash for the vacant Bantamweight strap between Petr Yan and Jose Aldo will be the co-main event.

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As per Morgan, the company is looking to rebook the Burns-Usman fight for a later date. We could see the fight moved to the August swing of UFC events at the UFC Apex. Or the company may reschedule the clash for the next leg of Fight Island events in September. This is where Khabib Nurmagomedov is set to return to action and defend his belt against top-ranked Justin Gaethje.

The UFC is yet to officially comment on the status of the original Welterweight main event.

What do you make of the UFC’s latest setback as it perseveres to trudge along and present live sporting action to fans despite the pandemic?

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Reubyn Coutinho

1008 articles

Reubyn Coutinho is a Combat Sports editor at EssentiallySports with over 2 years of journalistic experience. Having earned his bachelor's degree in Mass Media with a specialization in Journalism from Xavier's College, Reubyn has interned with the sports desks at DNA and Times Now before joining EssentiallySports to further his passion for sports content. Reubyn has interviewed former UFC champions like 'Mighty Mouse' Demetrious Johnson and Miesha Tate.

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