The Ultimate Fighting Championship wants to pit middleweight champion Chris Weidman against Vitor Belfort next. Weidman wants to fight the former light heavyweight champion. But there could be a snag in everyone’s plans.
“He [Weidman] wants to fight Vitor Belfort,” said UFC president Dana White following the UFC Fight Night 46 weigh-ins in Dublin on Friday. “We want to make that fight happen. That’s the next fight. That fight should have already happened before the [Lyoto] Machida fight. That’s the fight we want to do, and that’s the fight that Chris Weidman wants.”
Belfort was originally slated to face Weidman at UFC 173 on May 24. The Nevada Athletic Commission banned the use of testosterone replacement therapy on Feb. 27. Belfort, who was using the treatment, was forced to withdraw from the fight.
“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,” said the Brazilian in a statement following the commission’s ban of TRT.
Belfort tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone in February during a random drug test administered by the commission. The situation is unresolved and his fighting eligibility remains unclear. Despite those things, that’s the fight the UFC wants to put together next for Weidman. And they want to do it in Brazil.
“It doesn’t have to take place in Nevada. That fight would be big in Brazil too,” said White. “I would do it in Brazil. Yeah. As long as the commission clears him, yeah.”
Before Belfort can fight anywhere, the positive random drug test in Nevada has to be addressed.
“We’d want the okay from Nevada. If Nevada was cool with it, I’d do it in Brazil,” said the UFC president.
Belfort’s last three fights have taken place in his home country. Many have questioned whether that’s been an intentional move. Belfort tested positive to the banned substance 4-hydroxytestosterone following his fight against Dan Henderson at Pride 32 in Las Vegas in 2006. The previous positive test to a banned substance would have made it difficult for him to receive a therapeutic use exemption for TRT in Nevada. The Brazilian athletic commission granted Belfort a therapeutic exemption to use TRT for those fights. The Brazilian commission followed Nevada’s lead and banned the use of TRT the day after Nevada did in February.
White’s hope to put on the title fight in Brazil has more to do with revenue than drug tests. Belfort is a big draw in Brazil.
“Do you know how big that fight would be in Brazil? Huge. That fight would be big in Brazil. That would be a big stadium. We’d sellout there. It would be a big fight,” he said.