01 Jan Mike Brown positive for COVID-19, can’t corner Jorge Masvidal at UFC 251
“BMF” champ Jorge Masvidal is down one corner at UFC 251 after his longtime American Top Team coach Mike Brown came up positive for COVID-19.
MMA Fighting learned of the news from multiple people aware of Brown’s status. The coach was not immediately reachable for comment, but later confirmed his positive test and said he is “all good” after being scratched from Saturday’s pay-per-view event at Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. Masvidal will likely still have four corners for the fight, one of the people confirmed.
Combate first reported the news of Brown’s positive test.
A former WEC champ and “Coach of the Year” recipient, Brown was due to depart Las Vegas for Abu Dhabi on Monday after traveling from Coconut Creek, Fla., where ATT is headquartered. Per the UFC’s testing protocols, he was required to provide a negative test before departing.
The coach’s positive test adds to a list of participants ruled out of Saturday’s fights due to COVID-19. Welterweight title challenger Gilbert Burns lost a headliner opposite champ Kamaru Usman when he tested positive, prompting the promotion to book Masvidal in his place. Two of Burns’ corners also tested positive.
Additionally, two other ATT regulars, bantamweight Pedro Munhoz and coach Gabriel Oliveira, tested positive. Munhoz lost a bout with ex-lightweight champ Frankie Edgar at UFC on ESPN 13 set for July 15.
Oliveira told MMA Fighting he twice cornered fighters at UFC events held at the promotion’s APEX in Las Vegas this past month and didn’t fail any tests. He recently went back to ATT and noticed afterward he felt sick with a high fever. After testing positive, he immediately self-quarantined.
Burns, Brown, Munhoz and Oliveira all reside in Florida, which has emerged as a coronavirus hotspot in the past month with 206,000 confirmed cases. ATT has taken extensive measures to curtail the spread of COVID-19, including weekly tests of fighters and coaches.
Masvidal was initially expected to meet Usman at UFC 251 in Las Vegas. But after a dispute over pay, he was replaced by Burns. Prior to signing on for the short-notice title shot, he struck a new deal that he told ESPN.com was close to his original financial demand.