Gilbert Burns Talks UFC 251 Withdrawal Due to COVID-19, Warns Others

Gilbert Burns recently discussed having his title shot posptoned due to COVID-19, and he's warning others to take "all the precautions".

Gilbert Burns was understandably devastated to learn his fight with welterweight champ Kamaru Usman was off, after testing positive for COVID-19. But, after battling the virus, Burns believes it was a “blessing” he didn’t face Usman at UFC 251 as scheduled.

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Burns opens up on UFC 251 withdrawal, fighting COVID-19

The former lightweight was tapped to face Usman at the July 11th event, after Burns dominated former champ Tyron Woodley for the decision win in May. That win was Burns’ fourth straight since he returned to the welterweight division.

But, as noted above, Burns was ultimately forced off the card as a result of testing positive for COVID-19. Jorge Masvidal agreed to step up and fight Usman, and lost the bout via decision.

Recently the 34-year-old Burns spoke with MMA Fighting, and while reflecting on what transpired, he made the following revelation.

“I was watching that fight and I was almost in tears because when Masvidal was walking out to the fight, it was supposed to be me. When I saw him walking, it was supposed to be me.

“I held on because my kids were here but I almost cried watching Masvidal walking in. That was my chance. It was supposed to be me.”

Burns also talked about the fact, however, that it took some time before he was back to his normal self.

“My energy level was not normal coming back,” Burns said. “It’s a long process. I was not at 100 percent [a month after testing positive].”

“I feel better that I didn’t fight,” Burns said. “I know that sounds weird but if I got that virus and for any reason tested negative, I was going into the fight and I wasn’t feeling good.

Don’t get me wrong, even if I’m not feeling good, I’m going to fight anyways. I’m not going to pull out, especially for a title fight.

I’m going to give my best. I don’t know if my best will be enough but I’ll never pull out of the fight.

“But to take me out and I got home and started getting sick, I definitely see it as a blessing.”

Yes, in hindsight, it certainly sounds like it was a good thing Burns was accurately flagged for the virus and removed from the card.

Burns warns others to take “precautions”

The talented fighter and renowned grappler also talked about the fact that some of his teammates who tested positive for the virus, were fine. While he was hit pretty hard by it.

“It was very confusing,” Burns said. “Three of my own coaches had it, Kami Barzini, Greg Jones and Vagner Rocha, but they had no symptoms.

Vagner felt nothing. Greg Jones and Kami as well, they had no symptoms.

Aung La [A Sang], the ONE champion that trains with us, he had no symptoms. It’s confusing.”

“…You can’t say it’s just for elderly [people]. Just make sure you take care of yourself, wear your mask, stay clean, don’t go out crazy.

Take all the precautions. It’s very confusing, that virus. People get sick, people don’t. Just make sure to take care of yourself and respect the limits.

Make sure you [distance] yourself from people and stay safe.”

And we’ve seen that with other fighters and camps as well. Leon Edwards and Cody Garbrandt, for example, both dealt with pretty serious symptoms from the virus. Garbrandt in particular incurred some serious medical issues from it.

So, this is some very solid advice from Burns.

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