Countless fans joked that it would only be a matter of time before Vitor Belfort (pictured) pulled out of his UFC 173 title fight against middleweight champion Chris Weidman with an “injury” after the Nevada State Athletic Commission voted unanimously to ban testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) on Thursday.
Well, Belfort took a different route but ultimately ended up where fans predicted. A healthy Belfort announced on tonight’s edition of “Fox Sports Live” that he will withdraw from the May 24 scrap because he won’t be allowed to use TRT.
“The Nevada State Athletic Commission recently altered its policy and no longer will permit testosterone use exemptions, and will not permit a TRT program,” Belfort expressed in a statement. “As other jurisdictions may follow suit, I am going to drop my TRT program and compete in MMA without it.
“Given the time constraints involved between now and my proposed next bout in May, I have determined not to apply for a license to fight in Nevada at this time.”
Former light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida gladly stepped in to take “The Phenom’s” place.
“With today’s ruling by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida, who’s undefeated since dropping to 185 pounds, will fight champion Chris Weidman in the main event of UFC 173 in May,” UFC president Dana White said. “Machida was dominant in his last two fights, beating Gegard Mousasi and knocking out Mark Munoz.
“He’s earned this shot at Weidman, who’s coming off two straight wins over the greatest fighter of all time, Anderson Silva. Machida wants nothing more than to avenge the losses of his friend and training partner, and become just the third fighter in UFC history to win titles in two separate weight classes.”
Shortly after the NSAC banned TRT, the UFC issued a statement in support of the monumental verdict. The planet’s premier mixed martial arts promotion proclaimed they would follow suit by forbidding their fighters to use TRT on any out-of-country event the UFC oversees when a governing body isn’t available.
In addition, the NSAC and UFC both expressed their desire to have all other state athletic commissions ban TRT.
UFC 173 takes place inside MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Here is UFC 173’s revised lineup:
Jamie Varner vs. James Krause
Sam Sicilia vs. Doo Ho Choi
Chris Holdsworth vs. Kyung Ho Kang
TJ Dillashaw vs. Takeya Mizugaki
Lyoto Machida vs. Chris Weidman (UFC middleweight champion)