Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
Former UFC welterweight champ Tyron Woodley and Gilbert Burns are now expected to meet on May 30.
The welterweight bout is in the process of being finalized after it was initially targeted for May 23. Burns on Tuesday morning announced he’s signed his bout agreement for the fight, which is expected to headline the May 30 event at a location to be determined.
— GILBERT BURNS DURINHO (@GilbertDurinho) May 19, 2020
UFC President Dana White has said Las Vegas is the ideal location for the May 30 event. But he’s also named Arizona as a potential backup should Nevada remain closed off to combat sports as Gov. Steve Sisolak weighs the relaxing of event restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Arizona’s Boxing & MMA Division on Monday sent a statement to MMA Fighting confirming the UFC’s interest in a live event and said it would utilize the safety plan in place for a trio of events this past week in Jacksonville, Fla.
“At the same time, our office has developed draft guidelines in conjunction with our chief ringside physician, Dr. Ken Ota, along with guidance from Dr. Don Muzzi of the Association of Ringside Physicians,” the statement read. “The draft guidelines will be submitted for appropriate review before any live event can take place. The Division is working tirelessly to bring combat sports back to Arizona in a socially responsible fashion keeping all participants safe for a strong and cautious return.”
Woodley was supposed to face Leon Edwards in a return to the octagon in March for UFC London before a coronavirus shutdown prompted the postponement of the event. The promotion paid Woodley a portion of his fight purse for the scrapped bout.
Burns, meanwhile, competed on the first UFC event to take place without an audience on March 14 in Brasilia, Brazil. A last-minute green light from the government prevented the event from being canceled entirely, though the UFC 250 pay-per-view scheduled for June 6 in Sao Paulo was moved after the event’s host arena was converted into a hospital.
Woodley hasn’t fought since losing the welterweight title to Kamaru Usman in March 2019. Burns has won five straight including three consecutive bouts since moving up to 170 pounds from lightweight.