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Jorge Masvidal and Kamaru Usman Reportedly Agree to Planned UFC 251 Title Fight, Fighters Must Pass COVID-19 Tests in Vegas First

July 5, 2020 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
UFC Fight Island, UFC 251, Jorge Masvidal

ESPN reports that UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal have agreed to terms to fight each other for this weekend’s UFC 251 on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. Per the report, sources stated that negotiations for the fight are done.

The UFC was left scrambling to change the matchup after Gilbert Burns was forced to withdraw from the fight after a reported COVID-19 diagnosis. As of now, Usman is on his way to Las Vegas, Nevada. Meanwhile, Masvidal flew in to Vegas from South Florida via private jet earlier today (July 5).

After landing in Vegas, Usman and Masvidal have to go to a host hotel and get tested for COVID-19 then placed in quarantine while they wait for the results. Pending passes for their respective tests, they will then get clearance to fly to Abu Dhabi on Monday. If they don’t pass their tests, they will not be allowed to fly there.

Previously, Jorge Masvidal had been in a pay dispute with the UFC, going so far as to ask the promotion to release him. Ultimately, UFC booked Usman to fight Burns for the title fight after Burns picked up a win over former champion Tyron Woodley.

Per ESPN’s Ariel Helwani on Twitter, the fate of the welterweight title at UFC 251 is contingent on both men’s COVID-19 tests in Las Vegas. If they don’t pass their tests, the desired Jorge Masvidal vs. Kamaru Usman fight will fall apart again.

Currently, there are two other title fights scheduled for Saturday. Alexander Volkanovski will face former champ Max Holloway for the featherweight title. Also, Jose Aldo will face Petr Yan for the vacant bantamweight title.

UFC 251 is scheduled for Saturday, July 11 at UFC Fight Island on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island. The fight card will be available live on pay-per-view through ESPN+. Prelims will be shown on ESPN, ESPN+, and UFC Fight Pass.