Belfort out, so Weidman will defend strap vs. Machida

Published on Friday, 2/28/14, at 4:52 p.m. Eastern.

By Brian Edwards

There was plenty of mixed martial arts news breaking on Thursday. First, the Nevada State Athletic Commission voted to ban the use of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT).

Then late Thursday night (actually early Friday morning in the Eastern Time Zone), the Ultimate Fighting Championship announced that Vitor Belfort would not face Chris Weidman for the middleweight championship at UFC 173 on May 24 in Las Vegas.

Before his win over Michael Bisping last year, Belfort revealed that he has been using TRT for the last three years. During this time, Belfort has been dealing out a lot of assbeatings and looking shredded like he was earlier in his career. The 36-year-old Belfort became the first fighter to ever KO Dan Henderson in his last fight.

With Belfort out, the UFC has given Lyoto Machida the shot at Weidman’s 185-pound strap. Weidman won the belt from long-time middleweight kingpin Anderson Silva by second-round KO last summer. In the rematch, Weidman prevailed when Silva broke his leg when Weidman checked a legkick early in the second stanza.

5Dimes had Weidman as the -150 ‘chalk’ vs. Machida (+110) earlier this afternoon. However, in the span of just 3-4 hours, the offshore book adjusted Weidman to -215. Machida is now the +165 underdog (risk $100 to win $165).

Machida is the former UFC light heavyweight champ. Since dropping down to the 185-pound loop, ‘The Dragon’ has posted wins over Mark Munoz and Gegard Mousasi.

In a post on his Facebook page today, Belfort explained the situation like this:

“I never gave up fighting in UFC 173  and never mentioned it. Therefore, all information posted in any mass media advertising that is not true.

What I announced was that I will be resigning “TRT” and not “giving up the fight” to continue my dream of fighting.

The UFC decided to put another opponent in my place because I didn’t have time to fit the new rules of the NSAC. According to the UFC, I will face the winner of Weidman vs Lyotto within the new regulations of all the Athletic Commissions.

I’m sorry that this happened, and I appreciate the strength and understanding of all fans, sponsors, UFC and athletic commissions.”

However, there is rampant speculation that Belfort may have flunked a random drug test two weeks ago. The results of this test are sealed by the NSAC and won’t be released without Belfort’s approval.

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