The fallout from the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s new ban on testosterone-replacement therapy continues, and today, one of TRT’s highest-profile users clarified a recent card change.
Former UFC champion Vitor Belfort, who was removed from a planned UFC 173 title fight with middleweight champion Chris Weidman after the NSAC announced the ban on Thursday, today said he didn’t voluntarily pull out of the fight.
The 36-year-old Brazilian made the announcement via social media.
Belfort took issue with Thursday’s report on FOX Sports 1′s “UFC Tonight” that stated Belfort voluntarily withdrew from the card. However, Belfort said he’s also been promised he’ll fight the winner of UFC 173′s new headliner between Weidman (11-0 MMA, 7-0 UFC) and replacement Lyoto Machida (21-4 MMA, 13-4 UFC) once he’s off TRT.
His statement (translation via Google):
I never give up the fight at UFC 173 and never said that. … 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
Belfort’s comments contradict a statement that appeared in Thursday’s UFC announcement.
“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 stated. “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 May 24 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The main card will airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FOX Sports 1 and UFC Fight Pass.