Belfort out of UFC 173, Weidman will now face Machida

Friday, February 28, 2014

Tonight on FOX Sport's Live it was announced that Vitor Belfort is out of his title shot against Chris Weidman at UFC 173. It was then announced that Lyoto Machida will take his place and fight Weidman for the UFC middleweight title.

Earlier today the Nevada State Athletic Commission unanimously voted to ban therapeutic use exemptions for testosterone replacement therapy, something Belfort has used for his last several fights.

Not seconds after the announcement on FOX Sports Live, the UFC e-mailed an announcement to the press:

The Ultimate Fighting Championship® announced tonight that former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida will face off against UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman in the main event of UFC 173 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday, May 24.

In light of today’s unexpected ruling issued by the Nevada State Athletic Commission regarding the ban of therapeutic use exemptions for testosterone replacement therapy, Vitor Belfort, Weidman’s previously announced opponent, will no longer compete at UFC 173. Belfort, who has previously been granted therapeutic use exemptions, recognizes that he needs an extended period of time to become licensed in the state of Nevada.

With the event scheduled to go on sale shortly, Belfort agreed to withdraw from the fight in order to allow the UFC’s promotional efforts to move forward on time.

“With today’s ruling by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida, who’s undefeated since dropping to 185 pounds, will fight champion Chris Weidman in the main event of UFC 173 in May,” UFC President Dana White said. “Machida was dominant in his last two fights, beating Gegard Mousasi and knocking out Mark Munoz.

He’s earned this shot at Weidman, who’s coming off two straight wins over the greatest fighter of all time, Anderson Silva. Machida wants nothing more than to avenge the losses of his friend and training partner, and become just the third fighter in UFC history to win titles in two separate weight classes.”