Fertitta: We Couldn't Take the Chance Belfort Wasn't Getting Licensed to Fight

John HeinisSenior Analyst IMarch 4, 2014

Brazilian fighter Vitor Belfort trains during the UFC Sao Paulo open workouts as people watch in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013. Belfort will compete in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in Sao paulo on Jan. 19. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)
Andre Penner/Associated Press

UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta says that the company removed UFC middleweight contender Vitor Belfort from a title bout with Chris Weidman on May 24. 

According to an interview with Yahoo! Sports, Fertitta elaborated on the subject, stating the UFC could not take the risk of promoting the fight if "The Phenom" may not get licensed. 

"At the end of the day, we have a fight to promote on May 24," Fertitta said. "Chris is going to defend his title, and you know how this business works: You've got to get commercials in two to three months early. We've got to get key art done. We've got a fight to promote and Vitor, because they came down with this ruling [Thursday], Vitor is going to have to comply with that, which he is going to. But we don't know how long that process will take for him to get a license, whether it is two weeks or two months. We can't be in limbo as a company. We need to promote a fight, so the most logical thing was for Vitor to get going with his process to file an application in Nevada, and once that gets done, we could revisit this thing."

In a move that sent shock waves throughout the fight community, the Nevada State Athletic Commission banned testosterone replacement therapy at a meeting on Thursday. 

Belfort, a longtime user of TRT, reportedly withdrew from his UFC 173 title tilt shortly after the ruling came down and was replaced by Lyoto Machida, per FOX Sports

However, the Brazilian slugger changed his stance less than a day later, stating that the UFC pulled him from the event and didn't plan on giving up his championship bout on his own accord, per MMA Fighting.

Belfort is 4-1 in his past five fights, all contested outside the United States, with his sole loss being a short notice light heavyweight title bout against Jon Jones in September 2012. 

His recent hit list includes notable contenders in ex-Strikeforce champ Luke Rockhold, perennial contender Michael Bisping and former Strikeforce/Pride titleholder Dan Henderson. 

The 36-year-old won all three of the aforementioned matchups via knockout. 

On Saturday, Belfort claimed that his doctor informed him it would take his body roughly 90 days to adapt to training without TRT, per MMA Fighting

Will Belfort continue to be a force to be reckoned with at middleweight without his controversial medical treatment? Or will he lose the extra edge he needs without TRT? 


John Heinis is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also the MMA editor for eDraft.com.