Gilbert Burns was forced out of the UFC 251 main event title afyer testing positive for COVID-19.
He was supposed to fight against welterweight champ, Kamaru Usman. However, it looks like Jorge Masvidal might step in on short notice.
According to reports, talks have begun and both sides believe there is a path to making this fight happen.
The UFC and Masvidal were far apart on contract talks for this fight for the past two months. In fact, the UFC walked away from negotiations about a month ago. Masvidal has been very critical of the UFC’s payout process recently.
He joins Jon Jones in not feeling the financial love from the organization.
This led to the title fight for Burns after he beat former champion Tyron Woodley.
However, Burns was forced off the card late Friday night.
Usman and Masvidal have been embroiled in a heated feud that saw the duo get into a shouting match at the Super Bowl in Miami earlier this year.
On Saturday, Masvidal took and passed a coronavirus antibody test. That test shows whether an individual has been exposed to COVID-19 in the past but doesn’t determine whether someone currently has the virus.
If the fight ultimately gets signed, he will have to pass at least three coronavirus tests before fight night. In addition, all the fighters competing in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, this month at Yas Island.
The UFC’s charter flight to Abu Dhabi left Friday night. The organization will have to figure out how to get both Masvidal and Usman to the UAE in time for the event.
The Abu Dhabi government has coronavirus testing protocol in place.
Masvidal is considered one of the most popular fighters in the sport. He is the first BMF champion, a novelty belt, for the UFC.
If the two sides can’t come to terms on a deal, UFC 251 would proceed with two title fights: Alexander Volkanovski vs. Max Holloway 2 for the featherweight title and Petr Yan vs. Jose Aldo for the bantamweight title.