Once Jorge Masvidal and Kamaru Usman MMA pass their COVID tests that were administered upon their respective arrivals in Las Vegas earlier today, they will then jump on a plane ( both on the same plane apparently, making me wish I was a fly on the wall) to Yas Island to fight for Usman’s UFC Welterweight Championship at #UFC251.
This fight has brought a level of excitement that the card previously did not have, and although we all feel bad for Gilbert “Durinho” Burns who was forced to withdraw due to a positive COVID test, this fight between Usman and Masvidal is what the world wanted to see in the first place, and while they may never say it publicly, the powers that be at the UFC are happy that this is playing out like this. Yes, they had to pay Masvidal what he wanted, but they will reap the rewards of added eyes on this pay-per-view, so other than Burns, everybody wins.
48 short hours ago Masvidal was on the sidelines, willing to sit out for as long as it took to get what he felt was fair pay from the UFC. Gilbert Burns was to be fighting Usman, and Masvidal was as far away from fighting for the title as most of us geographically are from Abu Dhabi! Then the world was turned on its ear as Burns and 2 of his teammates including his younger brother Herbert were pulled from the card due to their positive COVID test results.
Masvidal taking this fight on short notice isn’t what most fighters envision when they think of their first title shot. And for “Gamebred” his shot comes in his 48th professional fight, which is certainly a record for the number of bouts before fighting for a world title. Also, if Masvidal is able to win, he will have ended Ben Askren’s undefeated streak at 19, and halt the 15 fight winning streak of Usman that he has amassed over the last six years. Not a bad run over the last year and a half, which also included the huge KO of Darren Till, and the 3 piece and a soda he served up to Leon Edwards for getting mouthy.
Masvidal is the proud owner of the #BMFtitle aka “The Baddest Mother Fucker” belt. I’m wondering if in the negotiations to make this fight happen if Usman requested that the BMF belt also be on the line? Which is something I wouldn’t be mad at, it just adds more to this incredible story, and even though Dana White said that the BMF belt would never be “officially” contested for again, that doesn’t mean that Masvidal couldn’t offer it up as a type of “side bet”!
Usman also deserves respect from the mixed martial arts community. 1st of all he took a fight against his teammate and training partner in Burns. When that fell through, with no hesitation, he agreed to fight a completely different type of opponent in Masvidal and put his world championship is on the line with just 6 days to prepare, definitely ballsy in the champ’s part.
At the end of the day, Jorge Masvidal got everything he wanted. He’s fighting for the welterweight championship, he definitely is getting paid what he wanted to get paid, otherwise, he wouldn’t be doing this at all. Luckily for him, he has a phenomanal management team headed up by Malki and Abe Kawa of First Round Management in his corner. These gentlemen are always ready to get things done for their clients at the drop of a hat!
The mixed martial arts world is sitting on pins and needles waiting for news that both gentlemen have negative COVID tests so this bout can be made official for the 1st Fight Island event this summer!
Christopher James has been in the MMA industry for 15 years, Working as a ring announcer for promotions like the XFC, Island Fights, Combat Night and Fight Nights Global during his career. Chris’ love for the sport and the athletes that partake in it led him to writing and doing face to face interviews with the athletes he admired and respected. Chris isn’t conventional by any stretch of the imagination, he has his own style, and takes pride in not being a “cookie-cutter” member of the media. Unique and sometimes controversial takes are what he brings to the table, forcing folks to think a little differently about the world of MMA. He also has a love for music as he has been a dj for 25 years and his love for music gets brought to the MMA world when he gets his guests to sing on his weekly show Cage Side with Christopher James which can be seen Wednesday nights on FACEBOOK LIVE, and soon via podcast.