The cloud of confusion surrounding Vitor Belfort’s withdrawl from his title fight versus UFC Middleweight Champion Chris Weidman doesn’t seem to be getting any clearer, at least in the foreseeable future.
On Thursday’s edition of Fox Sports Live Belfort released the following statement.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission recently altered its policy and no longer will permit testosterone use exemptions, and will not permit a TRT program. As other jurisdictions may follow suit, I am going to drop my TRT program and compete in MMA without it. Given the time constraints involved between now and my proposed next bout in May, I have determined not to apply for a license to fight in Nevada at this time.
However, there was an almost immediate contradiction posted to his Facebook page just today. That statement reads as though he was forced out of the bout.
Vitor Belfort didn’t give up on the fight, he was forced to give up. I never gave up on UFC 173 fight and never said that. Any information about it in the media is not true. What I said was that “I’ll quit TRT,” and not “quit on the fight,” to continue my dream to fight.
Things seem far more confusing than they need to be regarding this whole situation, and it doesn’t stop there. Not by a long shot. Belfort was subjected to a random drug test by the NSAC on the seventh of February while he was attending the World MMA Awards in Las Vegas. The results are in and everyone involved has apparently seen them. However, they won’t be released to the public due to the fact that Vitor hadn’t yet applied for his license to fight in the state, and now that he won’t be applying for that license the only way those results would be released are if Belfort did so himself.
This brings up some interesting questions.
1) Why would Vitor decide to pull out of a fight three months in advance due his current TRT program when the benefits of said program would be long gone come fight night if he stopped using it now?
2) What are the results of his last drug test and do those results carry more weight with the decision to remove him, or him to have withdrawn on his own, then yesterdays NSAC decision to ban TRT?
3) Why have Belfort and the UFC released seemingly different statements on this issue?
We may never find out these answers but they will forever cloud things when speaking about Belfort in the future should none of this get cleared up for fans and media members alike.
Stay tuned for more information as it develops.
*UPDATE – March 1/2014*
It does not appear as though Vitor Belfort will willingly release the results of his Feb. 7 drug test in Nevada any time soon.
MMAFighting.com sent Belfort’s lawyer, Neal Tabachnick, several questions regarding Thursday’s news of him getting replaced by Lyoto Machida in the UFC 173 main event against Chris Weidman.
1) Can you release the results of the drug test Vitor Belfort was asked to take by the Nevada Athletic Commission on Feb. 7?
NT: The test is not relevant as Vitor is not applying for a license to fight in Nevada at this time. 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.
2) Did Belfort fail the drug test?
NT: See above.
3) Why did Befort’s statement, posted Friday on his Facebook page, seem to contradict the one attributed to him on last night’s episode of “FOX Sports Live”?
NT: Vitor was only correcting the mischaracterization of the situation as him withdrawing from the bout. Zuffa decided that with the sea change in rules by the Commission, that there was no time to address it, get Vitor licensed, and promote the event. Vitor did not wish to withdraw from the bout, as some in the media have suggested.
4) Did he voluntarily remove himself from the UFC 173 title fight or did the UFC do so?
NT: The UFC made the switch. It was not Vitor’s choice. Vitor respects the Commission’s ruling as to TRT and TUE, has dropped his TRT program as of yesterday, and is fully prepared to fight the winner of the Weidman/Machida fight without his TRT program. That’s the focus.
5) Is he willing to conduct an interview about this matter?
NT: Not at this time.
MMAFighting.com then sent Tabachnick three more questions, however, Tabachnick has yet to reply:
6) When do you expect Belfort to apply for a license in Nevada and do you foresee any issues with that?
7) Will Belfort or someone on his team ever release the Feb. 7 drug test results?
8) Why did Vitor take the drug test on Feb. 7 if he’s not licensed in Nevada and had yet to apply for one?
Later, Belfort posted this message on his Instagram page:
“I want to apologize to all my fans that have been let down by the news of me not competing in the title fight against Chris Weidman. I wanted nothing more than to go and compete for the belt. As you all know, I have been doing a legal treatment approved by every commission I fight under called TRT for a health deficiency that I have. As of yesterday the Nevada commission banned the use of TRT. I am not exempt from the rules. I respect the Commission’s ruling, and have dropped my TRT program as of yesterday. My body wouldn’t have had enough time to acclimate and I wouldn’t be able to meet the new requirements of the commission swiftly enough to be licensed for the main bout and permit the UFC sufficient time to promote it. I am prepared to fight for the championship belt without my TRT program.
“I look forward to competing under the new set of regulations. I want to thank all my fans, the UFC, and all the commissions for their unwavering support and I will come back stronger than ever! I’m waiting for the winner.”