Vitor Belfort was today granted a conditional license to fight Chris Weidman in a middleweight title bout at UFC 181 in Las Vegas.
Belfort had appeared before the Nevada State Athletic Commission today to apply for a license to fight after failing a random drugs test earlier in the year.
While the commission agreed to grant him the license, they made it conditional on the fact that Belfort’s next bout must take place in Nevada, that he doesn’t fight again until at least December, and that he agrees to random drugs testing at NSAC’s discretion leading up to the fight.
Belfort agreed to the terms and after the hearing had concluded the UFC immediately confirmed that Belfort would now fight Weidman on December 6th.
It means that UFC 181 will now feature two major title fights as lightweight champion Anthony Pettis will also be defending his belt against fellow TUF 20 coach Gilbert Melendez on that card, which will serve as the UFC’s final pay-per-view event this year. It’s believed that Pettis Vs Melendez will now move to the co-main event slot, with Weidman Vs Belfort taking on headline duties.
It’s a smart move on the UFC’s part as if all goes well it will give them an opportunity to end the year on a high with a blockbuster, must-see PPV event, while also giving them a solid headliner to fall back on if disaster struck and Belfort failed one of his upcoming random tests.
Belfort is currently on an impressive run of form that’s seen him take out three top middleweight contenders, Michael Bisping,Luke Rockhold and most recently Dan Henderson, with each being dispatched by way of a head kick.
It’s made for quite the highlight-reel package and made him one of the most feared fighters in the sport, but the fact that his recent results have all came about while he was legally using testosterone replacement therapy has taken the shine of his performances in some people’s eyes.
Add to that the fact that TRT has now been banned and ‘The Phenom’ has since failed a drugs test will leave an element of doubt as to whether Belfort will be the same fighter when he returns to the Octagon at the end of the year.
On the evidence of Chris Weidman’s recent performances he’ll have to be at his best if he hopes to win a UFC title again for the first time in 10 years as the current champion has already done the unthinkable by defeating MMA legend Anderson Silva twice, and also impressed in his recent title defense against Lyoto Machida.