Gilbert Burns was only one week away from finally fighting for a title after six years of fighting in the Octagon, but luck was not on his side. Last Saturday, ‘Durinho’ tested positive for COVID-19 and was consequently forced to leave the UFC 251 main event, where he was supposed to take on welterweight champion Kamaru Usman.
In an interview with Combate, Durinho’s brother, UFC featherweight Herbert Burns, shared what it was like for his older sibling to go through such a frustrating experience. During the chat, Herbert talked about how Gilbert did not show any serious symptoms of the disease and was mostly just devastated for missing his title shot, which ended up going to Jorge Masvidal.
“He was suffering mild headaches. nothing too serious, the usual,” Herbert said. “He felt tired. I didn’t feel anything, but he complained about the headaches. That was the only complaint. I don’t think he’s going to be very sick. He just needs to isolate and protect himself. He’ll be fighting for the title soon enough.
“It’s beyond your control,” he continued. “You can’t worry. He was really sad, devastated. To lose such an opportunity after a life’s work because of a disease, it’s beyond your control. All he can do now is get better, get even more prepared and then capitalize when he gets another shot. He cried so much. We really care for him. Durinho is an emotional guy. He’s more under control now, but back in the jiu-jitsu days, he would cry everytime he won. He cried so much because this is something you dedicate yourself so much, you wait for this moment so much and then it disappears just like that. It seems unreal, like it can’t be happening.”
Gilbert Burns (19-3) secured his title shot after beating former champion Tyron Woodley, back in May. The win put the 33-year-old on a six-fight winning streak, which also includes victories over Demian Maia and Gunnar Nelson, among others. The Brazilian’s last loss happened in July 2018, when he was knocked out by Dan Hooker.
Now, Jorge Masvidal is expected to take on Kamaru Usman at UFC 251’s main event, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
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