Late Friday evening, next week’s UFC 251 card took a massive hit. The main event was taken out by a positive COVID-19 test from welterweight challenger, Gilbert Burns. UFC champion, Kamaru Usman, did not board the charter flight to Fight Island after the news came out. There is no official word from the UFC yet, but the original number one contender has voiced his interest in stepping in.
According to Jorge Masvidal's manager Abraham Kawa, Masvidal is "absolutely willing" to take the Kamaru Usman fight on a week's notice.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) July 4, 2020
What will the UFC do?
No disrespect to Gilbert Burns, but this title shot always belonged to Jorge Masvidal. After Masvidal was named fighter of the year in 2019, he earned the title shot. There was so much heat between him and Usman that the fight was guaranteed to sell. However, the negotiations went south when Masvidal was expected to take less money for the title fight than he received for the BMF fight against Nate Diaz.
Negotiations spilled out into the public and Burns was given the shot over Masvidal. Now, Gamebred is saying that he will step in on a week’s notice to take the fight. The question is, will the UFC make it happen? Will the UFC pony up the money it will take for Masvidal to get the shot?
Anything is possible, but my guess is no. If the UFC couldn’t make the fight happen over the course of months of negotiations, I don’t think they will make a last minute fight happen. I think they will be content with rescheduling Burns/Usman for a later date. I hope I’m wrong because I believe that Masvidal deserves to be in that main event spot.