In a whirlwind weekend, Kamaru Usman’s UFC 251 main event was nixed on Friday only to be back on by late Sunday night.
Usman was originally slated to fight Gilbert Burns in the headliner of the opening event on UFC Fight Island on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. That bout was scrapped on Friday when Burns’s pre-fight COVID-19 test came back positive for the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
With Burns on the sidelines, the UFC scrambled and worked out a deal with Jorge Masvidal, who quickly came to terms to save the day.
It’s an interesting shift, as Masvidal was the man most likely to face Usman next, but fell out of favor when he became very vocal about his current deal not being good enough for him to fight Usman for the title. Refusing to fight for what his contract stipulated, Masvidal and the UFC were at an impasse, which is why they turned to the red-hot Burns for the UFC 251 main event.
Masvidal obviously had more leverage in the situation with the short amount of time the UFC had to scramble and keep Usman on the UFC 251 fight card, so they were able to work out a deal that was acceptable enough for him to step in on just a few days of notice.
UFC 251 will take place on Saturday, July 11, on ESPN+ Pay-Per-View. It is the first of four events that will take place on Fight Island over the span of 15 days.
Dana White confirms Kamaru Usman vs. Jorge Masvidal for new UFC 251 main event
(Video courtesy of ESPN)
— UFC (@ufc) July 6, 2020