Gilbert Burns Says Florida Re-Opening During Coronavirus Pandemic Led To Positive Test

Gilbert Burns was set to challenge UFC Welterweight Champion Kamaru Usman for the gold in the main event of UFC 251, but would test positive for the coronavirus and would get pulled from the card.

The fighter wasn’t the only one to test positive for the coronavirus, as Burns’ coaches also tested positive for the virus.

“The next day I woke up to a call from Hunter Campbell from the UFC,” Burns told Brett Okamoto of ESPN (via Danny Segura of MMA Junkie). “He’s the one that gave me the news, ‘Hey, you tested positive. We’re going to run another test and after the second results we’ll go from there.’ Then I was waiting, and Khabib’s dad passed away, so we were caught up in the situation while we waited for results. Then I called Ali (Abdelaziz, his manager), and it was hard to get in touch with him because everything with Khabib’s dad. And when we finally talked, he was like, ‘Bro, a lot of people called me. What’s going on?’ And I said, ‘Bro, I tested positive. We’re waiting for the second test.’ Then later the second test came and confirmed I had test positive, and at the same time coach Jones gets his results and test positive, too. So me, Vagner Rocha and coach Jones tested positive. My brother, who was in the middle of us (on the plane to Vegas), tested negative.”

BMF Champion Jorge Masvidal is replacing Burns against Usman, taking the title fight on just about a week’s notice.

Burns also believes the way the state of Florida has handled the pandemic lead to his positive coronavirus test.

“The thing is that Florida opened up, that was the thing,” Burns said. “In Florida, people are not wearing masks, people are everywhere walking. So I think that’s how we got it. I think the first person that got it was Kenny, a Brazilian coach. After that we got Aung La Nsang – ONE championship champion. And then, a couple of heavyweights, and then it was me. And another guy just texted me; he’s out of an LFA fight because he tested positive, too. I just think it’s a Florida thing. We’re not safe anywhere. We have to stay home. I believe the training is going to close … we have to close the gym a second time, wait, and get everyone tested, and then open again. I think it’s not a gym thing, I think it’s a Florida thing, because here it’s all over. The numbers are getting up, and we end up getting caught.”

UFC 251 takes place on Saturday, July 11 from Fight Island in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi with Kamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns headlining. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, with a post-show podcast to follow.

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