Shortly after it was announced that the Nevada State Athletic Commission would be banning therapeutic use exemptions for testosterone replacement therapy, it was reported that middleweight challenger Vitor Belfort had withdrawn from his scheduled bout against Chris Weidman at UFC 173.
On Friday morning, Belfort released a statement on his Facebook page to say that he never withdrew from the fight and that he plans to continue fighting.
According to Belfort, he will face the winner of Weidman vs. Lyoto Machida, who got the title shot as a replacement.
Here is Belfort’s translated statement:
“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 “.
While Belfort says that he never withdrew from the scheduled bout, the UFC has moved on and UFC 173 will go on as planned at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 24.
Whether or not Belfort will then get the next title shot remains to be seen, but he appears confident that is the case.