After yesterday’s shocking announcement that testosterone-replacement therapy (TRT) will be banned by both the NSAC and UFC, scheduled UFC middleweight title challenger and TRT poster boy Vitor “The Phenom” Belfort supposedly issued his withdrawal from his UFC 173 main event title bout against champion Chris Weidman.
Lyoto Machida was quickly scheduled to step in against Weidman on the May 24 card.
However, just moments ago, Belfort issued a statement on his Facebook page entitled, “Vitor Belfort hasn’t given up the fight, was forced to retire,” instead shifting the focus to his claim that the UFC forced to him to step down from his long-awaited title shot:
"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 Lyoto 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.”
It appears there has been a bit of a misunderstanding here, as Belfort claims he never withdrew from UFC 173 as was previously reported. Regardless, Belfort is out of one of the biggest fights of his life, and all because of TRT.
The controversial TRT cast a big enough black eye on MMA, and it’s good to see it gone for what looks like forever. No, that alone won’t entirely curb the problem of PEDs within the UFC, but at least it stops fighters from getting a doctors’ pass to do so.
We’ll have to wait and see if Belfort doe fight the winner of Weidman vs. Machida. It’s arguable that he may not be quite the same fighter once his body gets re-accustomed to not having the extra testosterone.
But with “The Phenom” the scapegoat for everything that was wrong with TRT and Anderson Silva rapidly recovering, “The Spider” may step right into Belfort’s perceived title shot.
Unless Machida wins, because he and Silva are good friends.
As expected, the outlawing of TRT in MMA is already causing a serious mess.
Stay tuned to LowKick MMA for more news and developments as they arise.