UFC 173: Vitor Belfort Withdraws, Lyoto Machida to Challenge Chris Weidman
By FCF Staff
The MMA world knew that the fall out from the NSAC’s decision to ban TRT would be far reaching and substantive, and the main event for UFC 173 has already been hit by the ruling. As a result of the commission’s decision on Thursday, the UFC has announced that Vitor Belfort will no longer fight middleweight champ Chris Weidman as scheduled on May 24th, and that Lyoto Machida will take his place.
“With today’s ruling by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, former UFC light heavyweight championLyoto 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 was quoted saying in the official announcement. “Machida was dominant in his last two fights, beating Gegard Mousasi and knocking out Mark Munoz.”
The UFC’s announcement also stated that Belfort “recognizes that he needs an extended period of time to become licensed in the state of Nevada.” The 36 year-old fighter, who has been granted an exemption in Brazil to use TRT, tested positive for steroids in Nevada in 2006.
Belfort also released a statement late Thursday regarding the NSAC’s ruling, and his subsequent decision to pull out of UFC 173.
“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 said 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.”
UFC 173 will be hosted by the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.