According to a report from Combate.com, Silva did not show up for a required hearing to receive a license from the Nevada State Athletic Commission for the fight and has been replaced by Vitor Belfort.
Silva and Sonnen coached opposite each other on the third season of The Ultimate Fighter Brazil, where they broke out in a well-publicized scuffle on the set during filming (watch video footage of Silva and Sonnen’s tussle here). They were originally scheduled to face off at UFC 173. The bout was then moved to The Ultimate Fighter Brazil 3 Finale. And then an injury to Silva from the on-set fight pushed the bout back to UFC 175 on July 5.
The two even promoted the fight at an International Fight Week press conference last Friday, where they once again had to be held apart by UFC president Dana White.
Belfort was originally slated to face middleweight champion Chris Weidman at UFC 173. When the NSAC banned therapeutic exemptions for testosterone replacement therapy in February, Belfort, who was on the treatment, was removed from the title fight and replaced by Lyoto Machida. Weidman required knee surgery, so the fight was pushed back to UFC 175.
And now, since Weidman and Machida has already been widely publicized as the main event, Belfort, who Combate reported as being cleared by the Nevada State Athletic Commission to fight, apparently steps in for Silva.
Sonnen has already gained clearance for the fight, according to the report, having stopped his own TRT usage once the commission banned it in February.
UFC 175 takes place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas on July 5. The Weidman vs. Machida title fight headlines the fight card. Women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey puts her title on the line against Alexis Davis in the co-main event.
While the report from Combate.com appeared credible, as the website is part of the Globo empire that is an official partner of the UFC, Sonnen on Wednesday tweeted that none of the reports about the situation were complete.
None of the reports regarding Wand, Vitor, and me are complete. The only place to get the story is @UFCTonight 8pm Eastern, FOX SPORTS 1!
— chael sonnen (@sonnench) May 28, 2014
Silva added more fuel to speculation, tweeting in Portuguese, “What is this???? I’m not buying!!!!!”
Neither UFC officials nor Nevada State Athletic Commission officials were available for comment or confirmation at the time of publication.