Here’s your morning update on the status of possible late replacement Kamaru Usman against Jorge Masvidal in the fight for the welterweight title at UFC 251 on July 11: things look very, very good.
According to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, “the talks are going in the right direction”.
“This morning it looked like this fight was going to happen,” Helwani told the ESPN Sports Center. “Now it seems to rule out any last minute hiccups … and there are still some hurdles to overcome. People are very confident that in exactly seven days, people will see one of the most anticipated fights of 2020. A fight that we don’t think is going to happen, it now seems like perhaps the most quarrel bitter of the UFC will be played. “
The big challenge is no longer the question of money, but putting Usman and Masvidal through the glove of the coronavirus tests and flights necessary to bring them both to Abu Dhabi. And yes, it is essential that they actually reach Fight Island.
I see people wondering: why not fight in Vegas? Valid question. Simple answer: all this Fight Island marketing is an excellent PR for Abu Dhabi. These events are not free. They want big fights. It would go against the goal if the biggest fight of the month was not on the island of Yas.
– Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) July 5, 2020
It is important to understand that while this is a sporting event, it is also a massive marketing campaign for Abu Dhabi. They’re trying to get rid of the stigma of being the distant country that Garfield has been sending Nermal to for years. Dubai has spent literally hundreds of millions of dollars cleaning up its country, and Abu Dhabi has similar piles of money spent promoting the United Arab Emirates as a place to visit and do business and not to be cut in. several pieces with a hacksaw or stopped to kiss on the beach. (Just to be clear, Dubai did all of this, not Abu Dhabi.)
Honestly, I would be surprised if Abu Dhabi were not the ones who relied on Dana White to pay all the money necessary to get Masvidal and Usman on board. And good for them, the two men deserve a massive splash of money for accepting this last ridiculous second.
So let’s cross our fingers and hope that all coronavirus tests come back negative and that sudden surges in Florida do not interrupt outbound flights before the two men can board a chartered plane. Because except for a positive COVID-19 test, it seems that UFC 251 has become much more epic.