Vitor Belfort is Clear No. 1 Middleweight Contender, but When UFC Title Shot Comes Remains Foggy

April 24, 2014
11 Comments

Vitor BelfortLuke Rockhold steps in the Octagon opposite Tim Boetsch this weekend at UFC 172 in Baltimore. But even if he wins, he’s not likely to get the winner of the July 5 bout between current middleweight champion Chris Weidman and challenger Lyoto Machida.

That honor goes to Vitor Belfort… maybe.

UFC president Dana White in an ESPN SportsNation online chat with fans on Wednesday confirmed that Belfort is still the No. 1 contender to Weidman’s title even though he withdrew from a May 24 bout with the champion due to changes in Nevada’s TRT policy.

“Vitor (gets the next title shot),” White responded before adding the caveat, “After he gets his business cleared up with Nevada.”

The details surrounding Belfort’s withdrawal from the fight with Weidman, however, could play into whether or not he actually does get the next shot at the belt ahead of Rockhold or anyone else.

The initial plan was for Weidman to defend against Belfort in the UFC 173 main event on May 24 in Las Vegas. Belfort accepted and was fully intending on fighting for the belt.

That was before the Nevada State Athletic Commission in February voted unanimously to ban therapeutic use exemption applications for testosterone replacement therapy.

Belfort was a known legal user of TRT, and due to the change in rules, he and the UFC agreed that he needed time to figure out how to best handle the change in regulation, so he withdrew from the fight.

Beyond that issue, however, there is a potentially much more complicated issue that could rear its ugly head.

Belfort in early February, prior to Nevada’s TRT changes, arrived in Las Vegas for an awards show only to have NSAC officials – knowing he would soon be applying for a license in the state – waiting to administer a random drug test. Belfort voluntarily submitted to the test, but the results of that test have not been publicly revealed.

If Belfort had already been licensed by Nevada, the results of the test would be publicly available by law. But since he was not yet licensed, submitting to the test was voluntary, and revealing the results of the test is only allowed if Belfort consents to the results being released. Thus far, he has not consented.

The leads many to question why, if the test came back clean, would Belfort not want the result revealed. And if they were not clean, how is Belfort going to get licensed to challenge for the belt, especially when White clearly stated that Belfort needs to “get his business cleared up with Nevada.”

So, while Belfort is the clear No. 1 contender, if and when he gets that shot remains in question.

Depending on how long it takes Belfort to clear up his business in Nevada, perhaps Luke Rockhold is a little closer to that next title shot than we think.

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  • Denny Swain

    At least belfort was smart enough to drop out of fight when his trt was cut off unlike dan henderson, who is being led to the slaughter . Henderson could have won this fight ten years ago but being cut off trt his body wont be producing testerone therefor he will be weak.

  • AXE MURDERER

    Vitor vs Joel Romero!!! -_-

  • JDMMA

    How would Chael Sonnen get the licens to fight in Vegas again Wanderlei?

    • bob

      Vitor has to be completely off TRT, and he stated he would slowly be going off to not shock his body. I believe the other athletes cut it out quicker.

  • brad king

    weidman will get destroyed by this guy. Chris better hope he loses the title then to tangle with this guy.

    • Baller31

      Victor would be an easy match for Weidman. Vitor almost always struggles with good wrestlers…Tito, couture, hendo when he was in his prime.

  • Mark McDowall

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Vitor doesn’t come back. Hendo, Sonnen have both been on TRT but they aren’t taking time off to “adjust” to not being able to use it.

    If he does come back and continues to KO opponents in dramatic fashion like he has been then OK….I don’t see it happening but only time will tell. If he comes back and looks like hell and gets put on his butt a few times then we will have our answer whether it was really helping him or not.

    • aaron gustaveson

      Sonnen is talking time off? I dont think thats true. If silva hand hurt himself attacking sonnen then they would have fought already, or soon. I can’t remember the originals date for the fight.

      • Mark McDowall

        Pretty sure I said AREN’T taking time off…

        • aaron gustaveson

          Apparently I can’t read.

  • AXE MURDERER

    The more i think about it he needs to stay busy by the time he can fight Chris or Lyoto it would be a year since his last fight vs Rockhold. I say make him fight Kennedy or Souza!