If you know what UFC stands for, you heard that Vitor Belfort is now out of his world title fight with Chris Weidman at UFC 173, and has been replaced by Lyoto Machida. The move was in response to the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) voting unanimously to end the extension of Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUE) for Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT).
Belfort withdrawal was puzzling. First, Belfort's attorney provided a statement to the UFC, which passed it on to "FOX Sports Live."
"The Nevada State Athletic Commission recently altered its policy and no longer will permit testosterone use exemptions, and will not permit a TRT program. 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."
The next morning, a Portuguese language post on Belfort's Facebook page differed from the above message, via Bing translate.
Vitor Belfort HASN'T GIVEN UP THE FIGHT, WAS FORCED TO RETIRE
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.
On Feb 7, the NSAC administered a surprise test to Belfort, at the 2013 World MMA Awards. The results of the test have been received by the NSAC, by the UFC, and by Belfort. No one is telling what they do or don't show.
Had Belfort applied for a license to fight, the NSAC would have been at liberty to disclose the results. But he did not apply, and they thus are legally prohibited from making the results public. Belfort himself could release the results of the test, but has not done so.
Kevin Iole writing for Yahoo Sports reached out to Belfort's attorney, Neal Tabachnick about the test results.
Kevin Iole: Did the test that Vitor took on Feb. 7 come back with an elevated T/E ratio?
Neal Tabachnick: The test is not relevant as Vitor is not applying for a license to fight in Nevada at this time. The reason for Zuffa replacing Vitor with Lyoto for the May 2014 middleweight championship bout was because of the Commission's change in direction on TRT/TUE. Zuffa felt that with this change at the Commission, there is no time for Vitor to drop his TRT program, secure a license for a May 2014 bout and leave Zuffa with time to properly promote the bout.
KI: Was Vitor on TRT at the time he took that Feb. 7 test?
NT: Yes, under a doctor's care.
Prior to the outright ban on Thursday, the NSAC did not condone the use of TRT by a fighter prior to an application for a TUE, even if one had been granted by another AC.
Thus it is possible that Belfort was in violation of NSAC requirements even before he applied, therefore could not apply for the license, and thus withdrew from the fight with Wiedman that he had been advocating so hard for for the past year.
However, until or if Belfort releases the results, this is just speculation, and it may remain thus forever.
Belfort's latest statement came via Instragram. He has dropPED his use of TRT, and says he looks forward to fighting the winner of Weidman vs. Machida.
I want to apologize to all my fans that have been let down by the news of me not competing in the title fight against Chris Weidman. I wanted nothing more than to go and compete for the belt. As you all know, I have been doing a legal treatment approved by every commission I fight under called TRT for a health deficiency that I have. As of yesterday the Nevada commission banned the use of TRT. I am not exempt from the rules. I respect the Commission’s ruling, and have dropped my TRT program as of yesterday. My body wouldn't have had enough time to acclimate and I wouldn't be able to meet the new requirements of the commission swiftly enough to be licensed for the main bout and permit the UFC sufficient time to promote it. I am prepared to fight for the championship belt without my TRT program. I look forward to competing under the new set of regulations. I want to thank all my fans, the UFC, and all the commissions for their unwavering support and I will come back stronger than ever! I'm waiting for the winner.
There was of course no word on the test.
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