When Jorge Masvidal fights for the UFC welterweight title on Saturday, he will not have one of his head coaches by his side.
Mike Brown, considered one of the best coaches in MMA, tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week and as a result was unable to fly to Abu Dhabi to corner Masvidal when he fights Kamaru Usman in the main event of UFC 251 on Yas Island.
"Just heartbroken I'm not going to see Jorge win the world championship in person," Brown told ESPN. "Nobody deserves it more than this guy. Nobody has paid more dues. Jorge is also one of the most thoughtful athletes I've ever met. He makes everyone feel they are with him and a huge part of this journey.
"The truth is this guy has been honing his skills for more than 20 years and developed one of the highest fight IQs the sport has ever seen.
"As far as being COVID positive, I feel good. The only pain I feel is in my heart."
During an appearance on SportsCenter on Tuesday night, Masvidal said the news hit his camp hard.
"It sucked emotionally, just because I want him there," said Masvidal. "When I get that belt, I need this individual to be there because he's a huge part of my career. He's been there for such a long time, we've been friends for a long time as well, so it just took the air from all of us."
"Every single one of me and my cornermen were devastated by it, but thank God Mike has no symptoms, doesn't have any cold symptoms or sore throat or nothing. So he's great right now."
Brown is a member of the American Top Team gym and a former World Extreme Cagefighting featherweight champion. Upon retiring from MMA in 2013, he turned his attention to coaching in South Florida and is widely viewed as one of the smartest coaches in the sport.
Sources close to Masvidal said Paulino Hernandez, Jesus Gallo and Abraham Kawa will be in his corner for Saturday night's title fight and that he is still deciding on the fourth now that Brown is out.