The effects were felt immediately when Vitor Belfort withdrew from his next fight, which was slated for Las Vegas. Belfort had been scheduled to challenge Chris Weidman for his UFC middleweight championship at UFC 173 on May 24, but after citing the NSAC’s shift in policy, Belfort did an about face.
“As other jurisdictions may follow suit, I am going to drop my TRT program and compete in MMA without it,” Belfort told Fox Sports on Thursday. “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 UFC moved swiftly and granted the title shot to Lyoto Machida, who gladly accepted.
Chael Sonnen, who is a co-host of Fox Sports’ UFC Tonight weekly magazine show, weighed in on Fox Sports Live on Thursday after the announcement was made, calling the new fight between Weidman and Machida a de facto superfight.
“This is an incredible fight. Chris Weidman is the undefeated, undisputed middleweight champion of the world, taking out the all-time pound-for-pound king Anderson Silva,” said Sonnen.
“Lyoto Machida has never looked better since he’s come down to 185 pounds. He’s undefeated with a knockout over Mark Munoz, a unanimous decision over Gegard Mousasi, and he’s a former light heavyweight world champion.
“When you talk about superfights, you talk about a champion from one weight class taking on another champion from another weight class. You want a superfight? On May 24, you’re getting one.”
Sonnen was in promotion mode, but as an athlete that has competed under the assistance of testosterone replacement therapy, Fox Sports hit him up for his thoughts on the NSAC ban on TUEs for the practice.
Sonnen didn’t seem fazed.
“The rules are the rules,” he declared. “Yesterday, it was legal; so quit complaining. Today, it’s illegal; so quit complaining. Testosterone is out.”