Vitor Belfort has released a statement after being in the news frequently this week. It was announced late Thursday night that ‘The Phenom’ has been replaced by Lyoto Machida, who will be facing Chris Weidman in his place for the UFC middleweight championship at UFC 173. The bout between Belfort and Weidman was highly anticipated, but Weidman is facing an equally dangerous middleweight who is on an impressive streak of his own.
This news came shortly after the Nevada State Athletic Commission, who are commissioning the UFC 173 card at MGM Grand in Las Vegas, have banned TRT exemptions effective immediately. Belfort is a name that comes hand-in-hand with arguments against TUE, and now the decision has been made to replace him in order for Vitor to prepare without using TRT in the future. After failing a drug test due to anabolic steroids, many argue the Brazilian shouldn’t have been allowed a TUE in the first place as this is what caused his low testosterone count.
Vitor Belfort took to Facebook to make the following translated statement, originally in Portuguese,
I never gave up the fight at UFC 173 and never said that. Therefore, any information published in any medium of communication announcing this is not true.
What was meant to be announced is that I will be “giving up TRT”, not “giving up the fight”, and I will continue my dream of fighting.
The UFC decided to put another opponent in my place because I do not have the required time to adapt myself to the new rules of the NSAC. According to the UFC, I will face the winner of Weidman vs. Machida within the new regulations of all Athletic Commissions.
I regret that this happened, and I thank the strength and understanding of all the fans, sponsors, and UFC’s own Athletic Commissions.