Just hours after the Nevada State Athletic Commission voted unanimously to ban therapeutic use exemptions for testosterone replacement therapy, Vitor Belfort pulled out of his upcoming middleweight title bout against Chris Weidman at UFC 173. Former champion Lyoto Machida has already agreed to square off against Weidman for the title.
“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 takes place on May 24 in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Belfort was riding a three-fight winning streak, defeating Michael Bisping, Luke Rockhold and Dan Henderson, all by knockout. All three of these bouts took place in Brazil where he was allowed to continue to use TRT.
That was going to come under scrutiny once Belfort was given the title shot against Weidman in Las Vegas. He would first have to apply for a license in Nevada where he failed a drug test for elevated testosterone in 2006. Belfort would have been required to go before the NSAC and apply for a license as well as an exemption for TRT use.
Now, Machida get his chance to reclaim the UFC middleweight championship against Weidman at UFC 173. Machida is coming off a unanimous decision win over Gegard Mousasi at UFC Fight Night on February 15.