Vitor Belfort Withdraws from UFC 173 Amidst TRT Ban; Chris Weidman Now Faces Lyoto Machida

February 28, 2014
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Chris Weidman vs Lyoto Machida

Following the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s unanimous vote to ban testosterone replacement therapy, Vitor Belfort has withdrawn from UFC 173, officials announced on Thursday evening.

In Belfort’s place, Lyoto Machida will fight UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman on the upcoming pay-per-view card, which takes place May 24.

UFC president Dana White said Machida earned the title shot after dominating his last two fights after dropping to the middleweight division from the 205-pound ranks.

“He’s earned this shot at Weidman, who’s coming off two straight wins over the greatest fighter of all time, Anderson Silva,” White said in a statement. “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.”

The NSAC voted unanimously on Thursday to ban the controversial therapeutic use of testosterone, and the UFC soon after announced it would follow suit and no longer grant TRT exemptions for any of the events it self-governed in regions without a governing body to oversee fight cards.

Thursday’s news prompted Belfort to forego applying for a license to fight in the state of Nevada and withdraw from the May pay-per-view. Additionally, Belfort said he will no longer undergo testosterone replacement therapy, choosing to fight in MMA without it from now on.

“The Nevada State Athletic Commission recently altered its policy and no longer will permit testosterone use exemptions, and will not permit a TRT program,” Belfort said in a statement to FOX Sports Live. “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 champion, Weidman, said he’s kept his eye on Machida since the former light heavyweight champion cut down to 185 pounds, and welcomes his challenge.

Much of the talk following Machida’s last fight, a domination of Gegard Mousasi, included Machida being next in line to face the winner of the Weidman vs. Belfort bout. After Thursday’s news, Weidman said he’s looking forward to defending his title against a fighter that he said knows how to collect championship belts.

“Machida is a dangerous fighter and he knows what it takes to become champion,” Weidman told FOX Sports Live. “He’s been on my radar since he dropped to 185, so I’m looking forward to defending my title against him at UFC 173 in May.”

Machida shared Weidman’s enthusiasm for the new main event.

“I’m really excited for this opportunity to fight UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman,” Machida said. “I’m going to train hard and be well prepared for this fight.”

UFC 173 is scheduled to take place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

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  • steeltown65

    Well that’s a F–king shocker! All this screaming and bitchibg for a title shot and he backs.out? I’d make.him fight Luke again. That would be his first fight. Luke would beat him down this time. I hate bisping, but he might knock Vitor out. What a bitch!

    • damn

      oh whatever internet warrior! CHAARGGGEEE!

      Machida vs wiedman sounds like a better fight anyways.

      • steeltown65

        How is this a better fight? Machida is gonna wait to counter. So Chris is gonna work the jab and the low kicks in order to get indie and take him down. He will win the fight on the ground. Good fight? Yep! But better than the slug fest Chris and vitor would have had? No f–king way bro!

    • Hugh Shakeshaft

      Vitor must know exactly how sub-par he is without the juice to drop out of a huge payday like this.

      • MuayThaiFood

        Since that makes no sense at all maybe there’s another reason?

  • Anthony Lopez

    Finally a replacement fight that fans can be just as excited for

  • deepgrim

    wow, what a huge suprise that vitor wont make it without his trt and the rest. Much tougher fight for weidman, looking forward to this one alot more!

  • Jan Bert Nuyten

    Love it……in my humble opinion Machida is even a larger threat than Vitor for Weidman!

    • Mihael Hajdin

      I think roided Vitor was a preety big threat, it was fun watching him shashing others but I dont think he will be ever fighting out of Brazil now..Machida is a legit threat and a contender but I hope it doesnt turn into a snooz fest like his lat fight..

  • jay

    Wtf is wrong with you people. He withdrew because he knew he would not be able to clean his system in time so now he is doing the right thing in order to adhere to the new guidelines and everyone is bashing him? I hope he gets the winner without another title eliminator, he deserves the shot. He broke no rules and his 3 KOs and performance against Jones last minute earned him this shot and he should still get it without having to fight again.

    • Baller31

      Wrong, 3 months is more than enough time to get to normal T levels. The fact is, however, TRT Therapy is only supposed to bring Testosterone to normal levels, so if he’s not abusing it, there is no way for athletic commission to know if he’s using or not. After this bs, he needs a couple of drug free wins before he should be considered again for a title fight

      • earlsimmons

        And you know this how? Sounds like you have no clue what your talking about. Wikipedia dont count bro.

        • Baller31

          It’s common knowledge moron. Which part do you not understand, so I can explain?

    • steeltown65

      He was juicing without any limits in Brazil. And except for the armbar attempt against Jones. He got beat down. He’s not the same fighter without the juice. Like I said. Is make him figh Luke next.

  • diazfan209

    The UFC had EVERY opportunity to ban TRT themselves, in-house, and always used the argument that it’s legal with athletic commissions so usage can’t be discriminated. Now they’re acting like they’re all about the ban and want to enforce it at all events outside of Nevada, which they should have been doing in the first place if their support is so strong about banning it.

    Good thing for Dana is that promoters are still allowed to use all the roids they want, just not the athletes.

    • hey now

      its not the ufc place to ban legal substance weather they agree or disagree

    • shakejunt

      ufc doesn’t make the rules

  • Seth

    *waves at Vitor* see you in Brazil. Sounds like only place on the planet where he will be able to fight

  • Scooby

    This whole TRT shi* is getting old. Let the fighters take whatever substances they want. I miss the good ole days when the UFC was fun to watch, and not so monotonous with all the BS rules. Of course, in a little while some mary, idiot hard-core MMA fan’ll bitch about my comment. Bunch of homos.

    • scooby’sahomo

      you’re the homo. you’re not in there fighting these roided up dudes, you just sit on your couch and watch. if it was your job and your income was based on your win/lose circumstance, then u might understand. but then again u probably don’t have a job, or a wife/girlfriend, kids, so u wouldn’t understand. what a queer.

    • MuayThaiFood

      I think you like watching sweaty men with big muscles exploding on each other.

    • earlsimmons

      This is how the world is turning out because of the liberals.

      • shakejunt

        all political parties are the same.

    • Seth

      Yeah, f–k their health! Bring lions out, that would be interesting! Let them take whatever they want and fight lions. Who gives a s–t about their health, well-being or anything else, right? Let’s just have fun watching them. BS Ego-driven fans.

    • shakejunt

      ruh roh raggy

  • brad king

    Machida gonna school this Weidman kid. I can sense a new Machida era about to happen!

    • Denny Swain

      Thats gas you are sensing

    • taylor2008

      You mena Machida running constantly? Sure he will school Weidman. Weidman will take him down and stop him from running away. Then GNP for a win.

    • TheCerealKiller

      I don’t remember a first Machida era?

    • shakejunt

      machida styles on one-dimensional fighters

  • Denny Swain

    Vitrt belfotrt knew he wouldn’t stand a chance unless he could dope up. Machida will meet the same fate as silva did. Both have elusive styles but silvas style harder to crack. Weidman wins this by ko 1st rd via gnp.

    • Adam K Vogt North Yarmouth

      I think the smart money is on Weidman, but you are counting Machida out too soon. We’ve seen Anderson on his back many times…Travis Lutter, Hendo, Cheal x 10…maybe others I’m not thinking of. How many times have you seen Machida on his back in the UFC? Not much, that’s for sure. His sumo background gives him amazing take down defense, plus he’s a black belt in BJJ. I’m not saying Weidman won’t take him down, but I think Machida will do better than you expect in this fight.

      • shakejunt

        he lost to phil because of takedowns and moving backwards. chris is better than phil everywhere.

  • http://www.CombatScienceMMA.com/ CombatScienceMMA

    I love Machida but Vitor/Weidman sounded more interesting based on how aggressive Belfort is. The UFC must be pissed at Vitor right now.

    • Aimed With “V”

      Machida fight is much more interesting style-wise.
      Aggression is a good thing, but takedown defense is something much more important, when you’re fighting a great wrestler in Chris Weidman.

      My only problem with this matchup is, that I like both fighters.

      • http://www.CombatScienceMMA.com/ CombatScienceMMA

        I’d be able to judge this fight more if the Munoz fight went longer for Machida and I could see how well he handled his wrestling. I’m just happy Weidmans fighting again and we can see him take on all the top guys like Silva did.

        • Aimed With “V”

          He handled well the wrestling of Phil Davis (two successful takedowns, and only one where he was actually held don’t really count as accomplishment), Tito Ortiz, Ryan Bader, Rashad Evans and more.
          They don’t even manage to come close enough to take Machida down because of his movement and stance.

          I had no doubt about Munoz/Machida outcome, it planned exactly as I predicted: Munoz’ wrestling is vastly overrated and he has been outwrestled by quite many.
          Weidman is different task, but what is 100% accurate, that Machida will be much harder to take down than Belfort.

          • http://www.CombatScienceMMA.com/ CombatScienceMMA

            Mahcida is always a challenge. Will be an interesting fight still. I really wish Weidman fought Sonnen.

    • Mark McDowall

      I think the Vitor fight would be more exciting. Michida is a great fighter…but he’s Soooo boring. The fight again Gregard was hard to watch.

      I think Vitor screwed himself here. Kinda proves that he at least doesn’t think that he’s as effective of a fighter without TRT. And I distinctly remember Vitor ssaying he would die if he wasn’t on TRT…now all of a sudden he is going to keep fighting without it?? Somethings fishy if you ask me…

      • Aimed With “V”

        A bit overrating the “boring” Machida-Mousasi fight, aren’t you?
        First two rounds were eh, but the last three were pretty action-packed.

        And I agree with other points.

      • Mike mckinney

        Unless I missed the interview it was sonnen that made the “death” comment.
        What you said though is true if Vitor backed out because he thought he’d lose. There many other possiable reasons.
        Also, a guy coming off TRT is not the same as a guy never doing it. If you change the body in any way you have to relearn it.

        • MuayThaiFood

          Agree 100% with your comment. No other reason explains him pulling out. He wants the winner of Machida/Weidman so it’s not that he doesn’t want the fight without TRT. He’s got plenty of time to get his levels withing normal range so that’s not it either. I think he’s trying to get his body back to producing T naturally and he feels it’s not enough time.

      • KJK

        Totally agree…watching Machida fight is boring…said it himself after his last fight…fortunately I was able to score enough points for the win. I get it…sometimes points win fights but when a fighter scores point while avoiding fighting I find it hard to watch.

      • MuayThaiFood

        I think you’re confusing Vitor with Chael in regards to saying he would die without TRT. Quotes are better then memory. If you have one post it, otherwise it’s just internet hearsay.

  • TheCerealKiller

    THANK GAIA! Go retire if you can’t compete with your natural abilities.

  • Aimed With “V”

    I don’t understand Mr. Belfort:

    First he said, that TRT is NECESSARY for his health.
    Now he says, that he can compete WITHOUT TRT.
    Does it mean, that he’s going to put his health on the line right now? Turn to be an unhealthy man, who isn’t able to function properly?
    Because, you know, if it’s not the case, then Belfort is just a blatant liar.

    • Seth

      Well, nice to see people finally see that. If he can fight without TRT…why would he used then? Easy answer – he wanted to use it as advantage coming into fight. But other side of that – if…or better – WHEN he losses his next fight, he will talk s–t how unhealthy he was and BS like that.

    • MuayThaiFood

      Wake up, that’s the whole reason it’s being banned. I don’t know why all the focus is on Vitor.

      Dan Henderson, Dennis Hallman, Todd Duffee, Chael Sonnen, Shane Roller, Nate Marquardt, Frank Mir, Forrest Griffin, Rampage Jackson, Ben Rothwell and Antonio Silva. Bigfoot is likely the only one with a legit medical reason to get the exemption. Everyone else lied to gain a competitive advantage. Chael went so far as to say he would die if he didn’t recieve TRT. He even testified before the NSAC and perjured himself. It’s a little unffair for Vitor to have his photo on the headlines of all these articles about TRT. I’m glad of the ban but seriously, if TRT was the Holy Grail then all these guys named would have had similar success to Vitor. Ironic that he gets to be the scapegoat because he has the skills to put it to best use.

      • Aimed With “V”

        This specifically is an article about Belfort, thus I refer to him and don’t throw another bunch of names in the same comment.
        Why should I?

        The fact, that Belfort is a hypocrite and probably abused the medical treatment to get better results in the cage, doesn’t depend on other fighters, and doesn’t depend on the outcome of his fights.

        • MuayThaiFood

          The article is about Vitor but the TRT, and in general the issue of PED’s is a lot bigger than Vitor. I like watching Vitor fight but most people already guessed his TRT was bogus as well as the majority of other athletes who do TRT, which is of course the reason they banned it instead of just denying individuals. Hendo even claimed he didn’t notice much difference on or off it. and if that’s the case, maybe he wasn’t abusing it to the extent of Chael or Vitor but was just making up for what he lost with age which wasn’t the intent of the exemptions.

  • Chicago

    DanaDanaDana Dana Dana Dana, he is ducking me bro…….

  • Hugh Shakeshaft

    Did anyone note the Weidman Bekfort odds before and after the NAC TRT ban press release? Just curious what the swing was.

    • Aimed With “V”

      Weidman -250 Belfort +236.

      • Hugh Shakeshaft

        Is that before or after the press release?

        • Aimed With “V”

          Before

  • http://batman-news.com Joe C

    I have always liked Vitor Belfort, and Chael Sonnen for that matter. TRT was legal, so they took advantage, as did many others. Now it is illegal, so they will need to adapt to fighting without it. I hate that Vitor pulled out of the fight; but it was probably smart. I’m sure his body will need some time to re-adapt and start producing Testosterone on its’ own again. I bet Dana puts him through a few fights before he gets a title shot again; if he ever does.

    • Seth

      They are on TRT because their bodies can’t produce testosterone to begin with, so he doesn’t need time for his body to start produce it again – as it won’t. So say goodbye to Belfort, his next opponent will have nice easy night-off with HUUUUUUUUGE load of hype to take of Vitor’s back.

      • http://batman-news.com Joe C

        I doubt their bodies don’t produce testosterone. Under normal conditions, even after steroid use, the body will begin to produce testosterone; sometimes it doesn’t. I dont think any of the fighters on TRT actually “need” it. I think they use it for performance enhancing reasons.

        • Seth

          Nothing new. Honestly. Im against TRT too from my day one in this “MMA Bubble” but what you gonna do? TRT is finally banned, so lets see how they will deal with. Im just happy to see TRT go, let’s see if Vitor can win something while being clean. I doubt it.

  • taylor2008

    I have been a fan of Vitor but now I am changing my tune. He is a professional and is scared to fight without steriods. What a joke! I doubt if Vitor will ever get another title shot.

  • Mihael Hajdin

    to bad fight is in vegas instead of brazil, it was fun watching roided vitor, i guess if he will continue to fight it will be only in brazil..with the power of his buddy chezz-its vitor will be back folks..

  • Frank Hogan

    Vitor would still have the speed and power to kill weidman,He was born with it,

    • Hugh Shakeshaft

      Why did he back out then?

      • RealityCheck

        Because the synthetic hormone would still be in his system and his pre/post fight test would pop positive. Just because his T/E ratio might be back to 1:1 doesn’t mean ALL traces of the drug will be gone.

        • MuayThaiFood

          That’s true but only with a carbon isotope test, which, unless something has changed the NSAC doesn’t do as it’s prohibitively expensive. Not so sure it would still be detectable by fight time anyway but of course random pre fight testing might catch it. Like I said though, I don’t believe they use that test.

  • legacy or log jam

    so if michida wins weidman gets a rematch then vitor gets that winner… wat about jacare,rockhold,bisping ect this fight could kill the best weight class in the ufc… but if weidman wins having beaten silva twice n now michida doesnt that make him one of the greatest of all time?

    • shakejunt

      chris will continue to not get credit for his wins because they’re over fan favorites.

      • Seth

        Have to agree…People don’t want to give him credit, because that would force them to say “hey, there is someone better than Anderson”. But giving him credit doesnt mean Chris is overall better. Keep in mind age and stuff like that. Was Chris better than Andy on those 2 nights? No doubt. Is he better than Anderson overall? We will see in a few years.

      • Hugh Shakeshaft

        Weidman will have that strap for a long time. His reign is only the beginning. At some point fans will realize he’s the real deal.

        • RealityCheck

          Reign? Yeah right. He’s not making it past Machida. Weidman isn’t as good as U think he is. He just had Anderson’s #, that’s it. Did you see the speed discrepancy when he fought Anderson? Machida is FASTER than Anderson. Machida will take near 0 damage on the feet and his TD defense is outstanding. I hope Weidman is the betting favorite so I can make a killing.

          • Baller31

            I think silva is much faster than machida. I don’t think shogun could destroy silva the way he did machida, he wouldn’t have connected on silva

    • SilentDeath

      Weidman does NOT get an immediate rematch. Vitor or Jacare gets the next shot.

    • Robbin Masters

      puts him on the path, but he’ll have to do more than defend his title twice to be up there as one of “the greatest of all times”. imo.

  • TheCerealKiller

    For a guy that talks about Jesus so much, you should want to step in there the way God intended him to be. He’s a hypocrite.

    • shakejunt

      christians are very much unlike their christ

      • Hugh Shakeshaft

        some

        • steeltown65

          Most

  • SlickRick

    I like Vitor’s killer style, but just don’t like his quit. When things don’t go his way, you can see the wind in his sail die. And it happens pretty quick. Weidman would have likely eluded his explosivness and grinded him out. Be a little tougher to catch and hold Machida. Much more of “chess” match.

    • TheOne

      Agreed. And Machida will score more on the feet and when Wiedman gets behind on the score cards he’ll have to start pressing and that’s when he’ll get caught.

  • shakejunt

    chris via early gnp or darce/anaconda once lyoto eats a few and goes for a trip. he won’t play the staring game.

    • SilentDeath

      LMAO. That’s what you’re HOPING for. But Weidman has nothing for Machida once he figures out that the fight is going to take place on the feet. Machida-Son via Ko/TKO in the 3rd rd

      • shakejunt

        chris isn’t bader, he’s not gonna rush in winging wild punches. he’s not randy, he’s not gonna be a sitting duck. he’s not dan henderson, he won’t just be looking for 1 big bomb. he’s not munoz, he still uses his ground game. he’s not gegard, he’ll push the pace.

        you can have your opinion, but dismissing chris as a threat after he’s already proved himself on the feet and on the ground just makes you look foolish.

      • steeltown65

        Have all of you forgotten that Chris beat the best striker ever in the UFC?. TWICE!! call it luck if you want. But don’t tell me that Shia won’t be ready for machidas striking.

    • BuiZ

      You make it sound like Machida has a glass jaw and 0% TDD..IF weidman finishes it will be by sub..machida will be very hard to KO at middleweight..hes fought tons of heavy hitters in his career and only been caught once by SHOGUN..weidmans a threat ofcourse but machida has been in the cage with much bigger and stronger guys that struggle like hell to take him down..in the end..Machida’s TDD speed and accuracy will get him a UD or a KO win..eitherway close fight… W for the piss drinking dragon

  • mmalive

    Chris is humble guy that can finish anyone without warning. Lyoto is the same. Both these guys have the tools to put each other out. The facts are this match will be a game of chess and good game plan.

    • lowlb

      Yep, this is gonna be awesome. If I remember, Machida had trouble with Phil Davis. I hope he’s prepared for another bad-ass wrestler.

    • james j

      Machida will circle to his left the whole match and just do quick hit and runs. His matches are misery to watch and this garbage will not be a guide match up for Chris. Remember how Machida ‘ s style frustrated Dan “TRT” Henderson. Horrible match up.

  • Alexanderthehammer

    Machida isnt worthy of a title shot. He is 5-4 in his last 9 fights. The GOAT killer will have an easy time dealing with the Fleeing Dragon.

    • steeltown65

      I totally agree with your statement!

  • Usmc8408

    I don’t know much about trt and steroids but he’s saying 3 months isn’t enough time to adapt to the no trt rule ? That sounds like straight BS! Personally I think the guy is full on “juicing” and stopping now would put him in a sump so low my little niece would have higher T-levels.

  • james j

    Don’t worry Vitor, the druggies are always ahead of the testers. They will create a good masking agent and you will fight again.

  • Junior

    this shows how weak vitor thinks of himself, machida is weidman’s kryptonite. think bout it

    • Alexanderthehammer

      Shogun didnt seem to have any serious issues with him. He ragdolled him twice.Here are the facts, Machida is 5 and 4 of his 9 fights in his so called “Machida Era.”The only reason people like Machida is because he fits Hollywoods perception of a martial artist. Wrestling and boxing has been around much longer than karate. Of people that use karate in the ufc he is the least aggressive. Bottom line is that he sucks and he is overrated.

      • KJK

        Agreed!

      • Junior

        i said weidman gona find it difficult to beat machida, doesnt mean hes the best. shogun beat him because his style is all attack. weidman needs time to attack his opponents wit takedowns nd strikes, it gona be a waiting game coz he knows he wont catch him like shogun did. shogun went all in, weidman aint like that so he’ll have trouble beating him to the punch

        • Alexanderthehammer

          Dude I see your point. But I think Weidman and his camp will find a good game plan to deal with Machida running backwards 90% of the time and only engaging his opponent 10% of the time. Weidman will keep machida from turning this into a staring contest and Wiedman is smart enough to not run into machidas punches.