Chris Weidman to defend title against Lyoto Machida at UFC 173
Thursday's unanimous decision by the Nevada State Athletic Commission to ban the use of testosterone replacement therapy met positive response from most in the MMA world.
And less than 24 hours later, the ruling has affected its first fight.
Vitor Belfort, who has been granted a therapeutic use exemption for TRT for his past three fights, was removed from the main event at UFC 173 in Las Vegas on May 24 -- a title shot against middleweight champion Chris Weidman. The news broke late Thursday night on FOX Sports 1.
Weidman (11-0) will now defend his title against Lyoto Machida.
“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 released Thursday night. “As other jurisdictions may follow suit, I am going to drop my TRT program and compete in MMA without it."
Machida (21-4), a former light heavyweight champion, is 2-0 since dropping to middleweight with wins over Gegard Mousasi and Mark Munoz.
The UFC said Thursday that it "fully supports" the NSAC's decision to stop granting exemptions for TRT usage.
"We believe our athletes should compete based on their natural abilities and on an even playing field," UFC president Dana Whte said in a statement Thursday afternoon. "We also intend to honor this ruling in international markets where, due to a lack of governing bodies, the UFC oversees regulatory efforts for our live events. We encourage all athletic commissions to adopt this ruling.”
On Friday, Belfort released another statement on his Facebook page. The statement was written in Portuguese and a translation was also posted. Below is the English translation of Belfort's statement:
"I never gave up fighting in UFC 173 and never mentioned it. Therefore, all information posted in any mass media advertising that is not true. What I announced was that I will be resigning 'TRT' and not 'giving up the fight' to continue my dream of fighting.
"The UFC decided to put another opponent in my place because I didn't have time to fit the new rules of the NSAC. According to the UFC, I will face the winner of Weidman vs Lyotto within the new regulations of all the Athletic Commissions."I'm sorry that this happened, and I appreciate the strength and understanding of all fans, sponsors, UFC and athletic commissions."