Just hours after the Nevada State Athletic Commission banned Testosterone Replacement Therapy exemptions, middleweight title contender Vitor Belfort has pulled out of his fight with current champion Chris Weidman at UFC 173 in May which had been set to take place in Las Vegas.
“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.”
Belfort had been legally using TRT for some time, and it had coincided with an uptick in his career, winning his last three fights against top flight competition by way of either KO or TKO
Doctor’s generally recommend that people don’t come off TRT use once they’ve started using it as it stops the body’s ability to produce testosterone on it’s own, though it can start up again several months after TRT has been withdrawn.
Belfort’s loss is now Machida’s gain as he steps in to fight Weidman instead for the middleweight title.
‘The Dragon’, a former light-heavyweight champion, moved down to the 185lb division back in October of last year and has since notched up back-to-back wins against Mark Munoz and Gegard Mousasi to earn his title shot.
“I’m really excited for this opportunity to fight UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman,” Machida said. “I’m going to train hard and be prepared for this fight.”
Current champion, Weidman had earlier in the day been celebrating the news of NSAC and the UFC’s decision to ban TRT, declaring it as, “an amazing day for the sport.”
Weidman, who’d been critical of Belfort’s own TRT usage in the past, appears to now be relishing the possibility of fighting Machida instead.
“Machida is a dangerous fighter and he knows what it takes to become champion,” Weidman said. “He’s been on my radar since he drop to 185 pounds so I’m looking forward to defending my title against him at UFC 173 in May.”