Even though there were no fights for the UFC in the world-famous Octagon this past weekend as the promotion took the weekend off for the July 4 holiday, this has still been a chaotic 48 hours for the promotion.

How we got here:

Friday: No. 1 contender Gilbert Burns (19-3), who was scheduled to challenge incumbent champion Kamaru Usman (16-1) for his UFC Welterweight championship on July 11 at the UFC 251 main event on Fight Island (Yaz Island, Abu Dhabi), tested positive for the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Burns’ cornermen also tested positive for COVID-19.

Due to these positive coronavirus tests, Burns withdrew from UFC 251 on eight days’ notice.

In the aftermath of Burns’ withdrawal from UFC 251, fans took to social media to advocate for No. 3 contender Jorge Masvidal (35-13) to fight Usman in the top contender’s place.

No. 2 contender Colby Covington also threw his hat into the race via his Twitter late Friday evening:

Saturday: ESPN’s Ariel Helwani reports that the UFC was working to book Usman vs. Masvidal on one week’s notice for UFC 251’s headlining fight, saying:

“Sources said the talks aren’t close to being finalized yet, but they are ongoing and both sides believe there is a path to making this fight happen. This is significant because the UFC and Masvidal were far apart on contract talks for months. In the end, the UFC decide to walk away from negotiations about a month ago and gave the fight to Burns, who recently beat former champion Tyron Woodley.”

Sunday: Helwani reports on his Instagram that the fight contract has been signed and Usman vs. Masvidal is now booked for UFC 251’s main event on Fight Island, six days ahead of the card:

Main event hinges on virus testing:

Both fighters on the main event, along with all fighters on all Fight Island cards, are subjected to five rounds of coronavirus disease testing.

Most of these tests will occur after Usman and Masvidal land in Abu Dhabi.

In order to progress through to the next round of virus testing, a negative COVID-19 test is required.

The biggest key here is the fact that as little as one positive COVID-19 test from either fighter will derail the main event this coming Saturday.

Barring a positive test and/or a fighter missing weight at the weigh-in on Friday, the UFC Welterweight championship fight is set for this coming Saturday night.

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Author Details
Content Creator at Armchair MMA , The Armchair All-Americans, LLC.
My name is Drew Zuhosky and I’m the MMA writer here at Armchair All-Americans. I’ve been an MMA fan for the better part of the last decade and I always make time to watch the fights. Whether it’s a Saturday night pay-per-view, an online exclusive, or a cable broadcast, there’s one certainty: Somewhere in my house, the TV will be on and I’ll be yelling at it. I sincerely hope that you will enjoy my articles on MMA. I pledge to you that my articles will be knockouts, not judges’ decisions. (Everybody hates judges’ decisions, anyway because there’s a chance for the element of human error involved in the outcome.) In any event, please check back to see what I have for you in terms of MMA material. Let’s get going.
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Content Creator at Armchair MMA , The Armchair All-Americans, LLC.
My name is Drew Zuhosky and I’m the MMA writer here at Armchair All-Americans. I’ve been an MMA fan for the better part of the last decade and I always make time to watch the fights. Whether it’s a Saturday night pay-per-view, an online exclusive, or a cable broadcast, there’s one certainty: Somewhere in my house, the TV will be on and I’ll be yelling at it. I sincerely hope that you will enjoy my articles on MMA. I pledge to you that my articles will be knockouts, not judges’ decisions. (Everybody hates judges’ decisions, anyway because there’s a chance for the element of human error involved in the outcome.) In any event, please check back to see what I have for you in terms of MMA material. Let’s get going.
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