While speaking with ESPN's Brett Okamoto on Monday, Gilbert Burns confirmed that a positive coronavirus diagnosis forced him out of Saturday's UFC 251 main event versus welterweight champion Kamaru Usman.
Burns explained that he flew from Florida to Las Vegas last Thursday, where he returned a positive result.
"I just think it's a Florida thing," he said. "We're not safe anymore."
The UFC replaced Burns with Jorge Masvidal, who put pen to paper on a new deal with the promotion upon accepting the title fight with Usman on six days' notice. Masvidal and Usman will headline the first card held at the UFC Fight Island location on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi.
"First of all, I kind of like the guy," Burns said of Usman. "And if Masvidal wins, the [welterweight division] is going to get crazy. It's going to be a circus in that division. He's going to fight Conor [McGregor] or Nate Diaz. I don't think the division is going to run correctly -- the No. 1 and No. 2 guy fighting for the title. He's going to make it a mess, so that's another reason I want Kamaru to win."
Burns added that his only symptom was a lingering headache, and that two of his coaches also tested positive. He and the coaches drove back to Florida from Las Vegas after they tested positive and are currently quarantining.