Unfortunately, we begin today with some tragic news from the MMA world.
Khabib Nurmagomedov’s father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, 57, has died due to complications from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) disease, following a stroke and brain trauma.
The elder Nurmagomedov coached the incumbent UFC Lightweight champion on Sept. 7, 2019 during the UFC 242 main event for the belt as his cornerman.
That night in Abu Dhabi, Nurmagomedov defeated Dustin Poirier to retain the championship.
All of us at Armchair Media Network extend our deepest condolences to the Nurmagomedov family.
Onward to today’s topic:
UFC 251 takes a hit:
It’s only seven days out from the first UFC event on Fight Island from Yaz Island, Abu Dhabi (July 11, main card 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ pay-per-view.)
When UFC 251 was announced for next Saturday night on pay-per-view, the card was initially supposed to have been headlined by three championship bouts to close the show.
But on Friday, the UFC suffered its first blow in the run-up to the start of its Fight Island cards.
Main event fighter tests positive for COVID-19:
No. 1 contender Gilbert Burns (19-3), who was scheduled to challenge Kamaru Usman (16-1) for the UFC’s Welterweight championship one week from Saturday night, tested positive for the novel coronavirus disease, along with both of his cornermen.
As a result of the positive tests, Burns is now out of the fight, which was to be the card’s main event on Fight Island that evening.
USA Today’s MMA Junkie was the first news outlet to break the story on Friday night.
Rebooking vs. Masvidal or Covington unlikely:
When news broke of Burns’ positive test, fans took to social media lobbying for No. 3 Welterweight contender Jorge Masvidal (35-13) to fight Usman on a week’s notice.
No. 2 contender Colby Covington (15-2) advocated for himself to be Burns’ replacement in the headliner:
Due to the lengthy COVID-19 testing protocol that the UFC has instituted for Fight Island cards (there are five rounds of testing in all), a rebooking for Usman for July 11 against any possible opponent is unlikely, if not impossible, to happen at this stage.
Keep in mind that most of the virus tests would take place after a possible opponent would arrive in Abu Dhabi.
UFC 251 will proceed as scheduled with a 12-fight card on July 11.
We’ll have more on the show later on in the week.