The UFC on Thursday announced that Vitor Belfort was out of the UFC 173 main event fight with middleweight champion Chris Weidman due to the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s decision to ban issuing therapeutic use exemptions for testosterone replacement therapy, effective immeidately. The promotion replaced Belfort with Lyoto Machida.
As soon as the announcement was made, the focus shifted to Belfort’s recent out-of-competition drug test in Nevada. Belfort consented to a voluntary random drug test when he arrived in Las Vegas on Feb. 7 for an MMA awards show.
NSAC chairman Francisco Aguilar told MMAWeekly.com on Friday that the out-of-competition test was administered in an attempt to facilitate due diligence since the commission was aware that Belfort would soon be applying for a license to fight Weidman in Las Vegas, coupled with Belfort’s history that includes his TRT use and a previous failed drug test in Nevada in 2006.
However, because Belfort is not currently licensed in Nevada, the NSAC does not have the authority to reveal the results of the test.
Asked what the results of that drug test were, Belfort’s attorney, Neal Tabachnick, told MMAWeekly.com that the result was irrelevant to his client’s current situation.
“The test is not relevant as Vitor is not applying for a license to fight in Nevada at this time,” said Tabachnick.
“The reason for Zuffa replacing Vitor with Lyoto for the May 2014 middleweight championship bout was because of the Commission’s change in direction on TRT/TUE yesterday. Zuffa felt that with this change at the Commission, there is no time for Vitor to drop his TRT program, secure a license for a May 2014 bout, and leave Zuffa with time to properly promote the bout.”
While the promotion’s initial announcement announcing the change didn’t go into as much detail in regard to Belfort, it does appear to support Tabachnick’s assertion, as to the reason for Belfort's removal from the bout.
“Belfort, who has previously been granted therapeutic use exemptions, recognizes that he needs an extended period of time to become licensed in the state of Nevada,” read the UFC’s release.
“With the event scheduled to go on sale shortly, Belfort agreed to withdraw from the fight in order to allow the UFC’s promotional efforts to move forward on time.”