Vitor Belfort could miss out once again on a shot at UFC middleweight champ Chris Weidman due to pending issues with the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
The Brazilian legend was originally slated to fight Weidman at UFC 173, but he was removed from the card and replaced with Lyoto Machida after the NSAC banned the use of testosterone replacement therapy, a treatment Belfort was on. The fight ended up being moved to UFC 175 after Weidman suffered a knee injury in training.
Belfort was then given an opportunity to compete on the UFC 175 fight card against Chael Sonnen, but that bout was also scrapped after Sonnen failed a random drug test.
The NSAC had scheduled a meeting with Belfort on June 17 about his licensing issues, but the meeting was cancelled after the Sonnen bout fell through. Belfort admitted via his Instagram account to failing a random drug test in February, but he’ll still need the NSAC’s approval before he is able to fight again.
Of course, the UFC could opt to put him on a fight card in another state. But after hearing UFC President Dana White’s comments at the UFC 175 post-fight presser, as relayed by Luke Thomas of MMAFighting.com, it seems highly unlikely that the promotion would go against the NSAC’s wishes:
I think what’s next and what everybody would like to see—what I’d like to see and what you’d like to see—is probably Vitor Belfort. So, let’s see what happens with Vitor. If this guy can get his business handled.
Despite White’s optimism, there are those in the UFC who don’t believe Belfort deserves a title shot, given his recent and past run-ins with the commission. UFC middleweight contender Tim Kennedy had some harsh words for the Brazilian on Twitter:
The NSAC has yet to confirm a rescheduled date for a meeting with Belfort.