Gilbert Burns missed out on his chance to take the belt from welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, but he won't miss out on cornering teammate Vicente Luque at UFC on ESPN+ 31 this weekend.
Burns was supposed to have fought Usman in the UFC 251 main event on July 11, the fight promotion's debut event on UFC Fight Island. All fighters and other personnel traveling to Abu Dhabi's Yas Island, where they set up a UFC Fight Island bubble, were first required to pass a COVID-19 test before boarding their respective flights.
Unfortunately, Burns tested positive to COVID-19, which meant he was out of the fight and required to quarantine.
Usman went on to defeat late-replacement Jorge Masvidal in the revamped UFC 251 headliner.
Burns has since tested negative for COVID-19, not once, but twice. The first negative test meant he was cleared for his shot at Usman, which is likely to take place later this year. UFC president Dana White has stated that Burns is not going to lose his chance at the belt, and fully intends for him to get the next title shot.
The second negative COVID-19 result, which Burns announced on Thursday, clears the way for him to corner Sanford MMA teammate Luque on Saturday. Luque faces Randy Brown in a pivotal welterweight battle in one of the featured fights on the UFC on ESPN+ 31 main card.
UFC on ESPN+ 31 represents the promotion's first event at the UFC Apex facility since its month-long stint on Fight Island.
UFC 251: Kamaru Usman vs Jorge Masvidal Recap
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