The UFC Looking To Book Weidman vs. Belfort For May or July In Las Vegas

Posted on January 2, 2014, 08:14 PM by Brian Cox
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Chris Weidman’s first middleweight title defense and second consecutive defeat of long reigning champion Anderson Silva is only a weekend old, but nonetheless, the UFC is already making plans to book the young champion’s next title defense for the coming spring or early summer. Further, they want to do it in Las Vegas.

As UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta confirmed today via a text message to ESPN.com, his venue of preference would be “Sin City.”

As Fertitta texted:

"Depending on Chris Weidman, I'd like to do Vegas May or July."

Of course, under normal circumstances this wouldn’t be a problem. However, there might be an issue with scheduling the fight for Las Vegas, and all as a result of who Chris will be fighting.

As fans know and was formally announced this past weekend at the UFC 168 post-fight press conference in Las Vegas, Weidman’s next opponent is the Brazilian terror Vitor Belfort. And as fans also know, there’s been much debate about whether or not "The Phenom" can be licensed in Las Vegas, and due to a previous suspension for steroid use, as well as his current (known & sanctioned) testosterone replacement therapy avail; “TRT”.

Belfort has more than earned his shot, there can be no debate. Since his last loss and title opportunity in the middleweight division, a fight that saw Belfort fall prey to an Anderson Silva KO front-kick, the Phenom has looked all but unstoppable. Going five for five in the class since his UFC 126 loss, Belfort has glided through his contests with four T/KOs’ and one submission, stopping anything and everything in his path; inclusive of KO’ing Dan Henderson at UFN 32, back in November of last year; an achievement that no other fighter had ever accomplished against the veteran. Further, of his five consecutive victories at 185 pounds only one fighter, Michael Bisping, has managed to make it past the first round with Belfort; “The Count” survived to round two.

However and through his last six fights, only one has taken place in the United States; UFC 133, Belfort vs. Akiyama in Philadelphia. As for the remainder of his bouts, Vitor fought Jon Jones in Toronto at UFC 152 in September of 2012, and then subsequently followed up with three consecutive matches in Brazil in 2013.

As such, many fans have begun to speculate that the UFC has been hiding Belfort away in Brazil and purposefully keeping him out of Vegas, because they can’t get him licensed in the state by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC).

However and on this point, Dana White has emphatically denied the claim. As such, the promotion’s president has stated that the reason why the franchise schedules Belfort’s fights in Brazil and not Nevada, has everything to do with his popularity in his homeland, and nothing to do with any licensing problems in Las Vegas.

To this, NSAC commissioner Keith Kizer has been a little bit more reserved in his declarations, stating that it’s doubtful that Belfort would be licensed in the state. And from what can be gathered, Kizer’s stance has nothing to do with Belfort’s previous drug infraction, but rather is predicated on Vitor’s current TRT use; on this point, Belfort’s fans, as well as possibly the UFC itself, balk and for good reason.

Belfort is not the only fighter to have tested positive for steroids, nor is he the only fighter in the UFC or MMA in general, to be have a therapeutic use exemption; a “TUE”. Simply put and to Belfort’s fans, and Lorenzo Fertitta and Dana White would be Belfort fans, it seems as if Vitor is being singled out for special treatment, and to the exclusion of all other fighters; namely people such as Chael Sonnen or Frank Mir, just to name two for example. As such, the argument becomes that Belfort is being treated unfairly by the commission.

Either way, it appears that the UFC is going to put the issue to the test and see if the match can be scheduled for Vegas. If not, then the fight will simply be moved to another state or country, and Nevada and its commission can have their capricious standards, but alas not the revenue from the fight; problem solved.

The only other note to be raised would be what Fertitta stated about “depending on” Chris Weidman. As Chris is now the middleweight champion, the “All-American” must defend his belt and he has no choice, regarding either opponent or venue. As such, it’s hard to see what might “depend” on Chris doing or agreeing to.

However and to the point, Weidman’s boxing coach Ray Longo doesn’t appear to be in a TUE coddling mood and remarked as such, this past Saturday, stating:

"I know Chris is beating the guy but why give him an advantage. Why does he deserve that? All he did was abuse his body with steroids so that now he needs the exemption; it's bulls**t."

To that, Belfort’s fans might muse that if Longo is so confident that his 29 year old protégées can beat the 36 year old Belfort, that he shouldn’t be worried about Belfort’s monitored testosterone levels.

Of course, to fans of both fighters they probably don’t care much about any of this or even where the fight takes place, just so long as Belfort gets his title shot and both fighters are injury free for the match. To that part of the UFC fan demographic there will be no winner or loser in the fight, but only smiles to be had when both are announced into the ring.

Truly it will be a great fight and it doesn’t matter if it’s Las Vegas or televised from somebody’s backyard, fans will show up and tune in.

 


Comments

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  • UnderdogGreatness
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    I got Belfort in that fight.

    Reply 4 months ago
  • Entity
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    Cool, I got Chris.

    Reply 4 months ago
  • akieyugames
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    I got a KO, just don't know who would be sleeping yet.

    Reply 4 months ago
  • IChokePeople
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    I'd like Belfort to win but I don't think he will. Chris is going to be able to take him down at will. Belfort obviously has excellent BJJ considering how close he was to submitting Jon Jones but I think Wiedman has much better sub defense than Jon does. I see Chris winning via GNP tko or decision.

    Reply 4 months ago
  • DesiredUsername
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    For me, It's hard to make an assessment of Weidman at this point. I find his two wins over Silva to be a bit cloudy because of the clowning and freak injury.

    Gotta go with the cliché prediction; Belfort early or Weidman late.

    Reply 4 months ago
  • IChokePeople
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    @desiredusername. I agree with you regarding the Silva fights but we actually have plenty to go on. Chris beat Damian Maia and Mark Munoz on the ground. He has a sick ground game and excellent take downs. If the fight stays standing I would go with Belfort BUT it won't stay standing.

    Reply 4 months ago
  • Zip
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    Convincing win for Chris. After that, Machida (that one scares me), but can't wait to see it. Still think Chris wins, maybe...

    Reply 4 months ago
  • Brian Cox
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    Personally, this really ***** for me. I love both of these guys. It will be both a happy and sad night, for me. I' can't lose, but I can't win either. One of my favs is going down.

    No decision in this one.

    Reply 4 months ago
  • IChokePeople
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    Machida was genetically engineered to destroy Chris. He is light years ahead of him in striking and he is next to impossible to take down. I see Machida getting a first round KO victory. For the record, I only ever picked Anderson to get a second round KO and in every other part of the multiverse he probably did.

    Reply 4 months ago
  • Brian Cox
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    ICP...yeah, I could see Machida beating Chris, as I could see Chris beating Machida. I see it as an even fight and Machida's blistering technique could well carry the day. My guess would be though, that Chris won't play Machida's game and on the ground, I'd give it to Chris all day long.

    Maybe more to the point, Chris vs. Belfort or Souza are also very dangerous fights, as would be Mark Munoz. The bottom line on this is that Chris has no easy fights. All of those guys can beat him. Of course the corollary to that is, Chris can beat all of those guys.

    As a Weidman fan, I look forward to all of the challenges.

    Reply 4 months ago
  • Zip
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    'S*cks is censored, really?

    Reply 4 months ago
  • watermelon fresh
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    Ehhhh. I don't like either guy. I can't stand belfort but really dislike Chris's camp. I really don't care who wins and have no interest in the fight.

    Reply 4 months ago
  • IChokePeople
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    What have you got against Chris? I will grant you that in his two title shots he was the recipient of some amazing luck but he is a legit top five fighter and although I don't know him personally he seems like a nice guy.

    Reply 4 months ago
  • Zip
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    The Fertitta dude's eyes are like dollars. He's mad. But our UK expert on US business, mmauk, should help us help out here - Gooooo mmmaukk!

    Reply 4 months ago
  • mainevent
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    Weidman's wrestling and ground and pound will be the difference.

    Reply 4 months ago
  • IChokePeople
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    agreed

    Reply 4 months ago
  • enjoylife321
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    Can anyone explain to me why the months of May and July are being discussed and not June ????

    Reply 4 months ago
  • highkick12
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    Im guessing cause they said they want in in Vegas and June must be somewhere else.

    Reply 4 months ago
  • highkick12
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    Was hoping this fight would be sooner. VItor is jacked to fight soon.

    Reply 4 months ago
  • Brian Cox
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    He is that. This is going to be a very interesting fight.

    Reply 4 months ago