UFC president Dana White called welterweight superstar Jorge Masvidal “absolutely brilliant” for sliding into the UFC 251 main event against Kamaru Usman.
Usman was supposed to put the UFC welterweight title on the line against No. 1 contender Gilbert Burns, but when Burns tested positive for COVID-19 and fell off the card, Masvidal put his hand up and said he wanted to take the fight. The UFC spent all weekend getting the Usman vs. Masvidal fight done, and once the fighters tested negative for the coronavirus, the promotion officially announced the new main event of UFC 251.
Although Usman vs. Burns was going to be a tremendous fight between two elite welterweights, the fight with Masvidal just seems bigger due to his star power. The last few days have seen MMA fans all over the world celebrate the UFC coming together on terms with Masvidal, thus ending his contract stalemate with the world’s largest MMA promotion.
Speaking to TMZ Sports, White called Masvidal “absolutely brilliant” for the way he slid into the UFC 251 headliner after Burns fell off the card. That’s some high praise from the boss, considering these two haven’t been seeing eye-to-eye lately in regards to fighter pay.
“It’s like the (Justin) Gaethje and Tony Ferguson fight. Gaethje saw the opportunity and took it. It was brilliant of Masvidal to slide in after Gilbert Burns tested positive,” White said.
“Gilbert Burns is the No. 1 ranked guy in the world. It was a great fight, it fell out. The fight the people want to see, the people’s fight, is this fight. it was absolutely brilliant of Masvidal to slide into this spot and take the fight.”
Masvidal and the UFC had engaged in a public war of words about fighter pay over the last few months in both interviews and on social media. Remember, Masvidal was originally set to fight Usman for the belt before holding out for more money. In the end, Masvidal said that while he didn’t get the money that he wanted originally, it was close. Although it took Burns testing positive for Masvidal to eventually get what he wanted, ultimately things seem to have worked out very well for “Gamebred.”
White was asked if the contract talks with Masvidal to take the Usman fight were difficult, but the UFC president brushed it off as just another day at the office.
“Yeah, this is what we do, man. We’ve been doing this for 20 years. It’s all part of the deal,” White said.
Do you agree with Dana White that it was brilliant of Jorge Masvidal to get the title shot?