The deal is done. The UFC has agreed to a deal with welterweight champion Kamaru Usman (16-1) and Jorge Masvidal (35-13) for next week’s UFC card on Yas Island. UFC‘s first Fight Island card is going to be headlined by the fight that was talked about all year long. ESPN’s Ariel Helwani has been on this story from the beginning.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 5, 2020
How did we get here for UFC 251
Jorge Masvidal won the UFC‘s Male Fighter of the Year award in 2019 after three impressive wins. He won the BMF title, and was set to take on the winner of Kamaru Usman/Colby Covington. After Usman successfully defended his title, Masvidal set his targets on the Nigerian champion. The two had a run in at the Super Bowl which added more fuel to the fire of their fight.
It’s no secret that Masvidal has become a big UFC star, and he wanted to be paid like it. However, wanting to get paid like a star is where the fight negotiations took a turn for the worse. The UFC became frustrated with negotiations and gave the fight to Gilbert Burns over Masvidal. However, Burns tested positive for COVID-19 which opened the door for this fight again.
The UFC came to the table with a strong offer, and they got the deal done. Late last night, the two sides were very close to a deal, and they two sides reached an agreement today. Masvidal was flown on a private jet to Las Vegas to begin his testing precautions for the fight.
The fight that needed to happen
This is the fight that UFC fans wanted all along. Two massive stars who had legitimate beef going into the fight. This is the proper main event that the UFC‘s first card on Fight Island should have. In sports, you have rare times where you need to capitalize on a fighter’s stardom. This is the time to capitalize on Masvidal’s stardom. He needed to fight for the title, and it’s a very good thing that the UFC was able to pull this off.