Welterweight contender Gilbert Burns believes Florida ending its lockdown was the reason he contracted the coronavirus and has been forced to surrender his UFC title shot.

Burns was expected to face ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ on ‘Fight Island’ next weekend, July 11. Unfortunately, ‘Durinho’ and two of his team tested positive for COVID-19 shortly before they were due to fly out the island for fight night. Jorge Masvidal has stepped in on six days’ notice to face Usman at UFC 251.

In an interview with ESPN Burns admitted he isn’t sure how he and his team caught the coronavirus but attributed it to Florida reopening, he said.

“The thing is that Florida opened up, that was the thing. In Florida, people are not wearing masks, people are everywhere walking. So I think that’s how we got it. I think the first person that got it was Kenny, a Brazilian coach. After that we got Aung La Nsang – ONE championship champion. And then, a couple of heavyweights, and then it was me. And another guy just texted me; he’s out of an LFA fight because he tested positive, too.

“I just think it’s a Florida thing. We’re not safe anywhere. We have to stay home. I believe the training is going to close … we have to close the gym a second time, wait, and get everyone tested, and then open again. I think it’s not a gym thing, I think it’s a Florida thing, because here it’s all over. The numbers are getting up, and we end up getting caught.” (Transcribed by MMA Junkie)

As of right now it is unclear if Burns will get the next welterweight title shot or if he will be made to fight another top contender for his chance at UFC gold.

Do you think Florida re-opening is the reason Gilbert Burns contracted COVID-19?

A lifelong fight fan from Liverpool, England who has been covering mixed martial arts (MMA) and boxing for several years. Follow @JordanEllisUK on Twitter for all the latest fight news, views, interviews and live event coverage.