Multiple people close to the situation informed MMA Junkie on Friday night that Burns (18-3 MMA, 12-3 UFC) has been pulled from his fight with Usman (16-1 MMA, 11-0 UFC), which takes place next week in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. The fight is expected to be rescheduled at a later date. The people requested anonymity because the UFC has yet to make an official announcement.
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. Herbert Burns later denied testing positive.
All three men did not board the charter flight departing Las Vegas. Usman also did not board the plane.
Burns later commented on the situation with a post on social media.
Devastating news, not feeling well but I’m going to win this battle! Stay safe out there! Much love 🙏🏾
News of Burns’ positive COVID-19 test comes on the heels of his Sanford MMA teammate, Aung La N Sang, revealing he’d recently tested positive.
Many thought Usman would fight Jorge Masvidal at UFC 251, but when Masvidal’s contract negotiations went sour, Burns, who has already picked up wins over Demian Maia and Tyron Woodley this year, accepted an offer.
Two other title fights are scheduled for UFC 251: Featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski’s rematch with former champ Max Holloway and the battle for the vacant bantamweight belt between Jose Aldo and Petr Yan.
The lates UFC 251 lineup now includes:
- Alexander Volkanovski vs. Max Holloway – for featherweight title
- Petr Yan vs. Jose Aldo – for vacant bantamweight title
- Jessica Andrade vs. Rose Namajunas
- Amanda Ribas vs. Paige VanZant
- Volkan Oezdemir vs. Jiri Prochazka
- Muslim Salikhov vs. Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos
- Makwan Amirkhani vs. Danny Henry
- Roman Bogatov vs. Leonardo Santos
- Alexander Romanov vs. Marcin Tybura
- Raulian Paiva vs. Zhalgas Zhumagulov
- Vanessa Melo vs. Karol Rosa
- Martin Day vs. Davey Grant