Weidman to face Machida at UFC 173, not Belfort, following Nevada testosterone decision

February 28, 2014

Emerging UFC star and middleweight champion Chris Weidman will take on former light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida in the main event of UFC 173 at the MGM in Las Vegas on Saturday, May 24, the Ultimate Fighting Championship announced.

Machida will replace Vitor Belfort, who will not be able to get licensed in Nevada for quite some time due to the state's recent ruling on testosterone therapy.

Yesterday the Nevada State Athletic Commission banned therapeutic use exemptions for testosterone replacement therapy, causing Belfort, a previous recipient of such therapeutic use exemptions, to be ineligible to compete at UFC 173.

Belfort, Weidman’s previously announced opponent, agreed to withdraw from the fight in order to allow the UFC’s promotional efforts to move forward on time.  Event tickets are scheduled to go on sale shortly.

“With today’s ruling by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida, who’s undefeated since dropping to 185 pounds, will fight champion Chris Weidman in the main event of UFC 173 in May,” UFC President Dana White said. “Machida was dominant in his last two fights, beating Gegard Mousasi and knocking out Mark Munoz."

Meanwhile, Weidman is coming off two straight wins over the greatest UFC fighter of all time, Anderson Silva.  The Weidman-Silva rematch ended with Silva suffering a grotesque and possibly career-ending broken leg.

Although the ruling by the Nevada State Athletic Commission might have temporarily thrown a wrench into the UFC's immediate plans, Dana White appears to be on board with the decision:
“The Ultimate Fighting Championship fully supports the decision made today by the Nevada State Athletic Commission regarding the immediate termination of therapeutic use exemptions for testosterone replacement therapy. We believe our athletes should compete based on their natural abilities and on an even playing field. We also intend to honor this ruling in international markets where, due to a lack of governing bodies, the UFC oversees regulatory efforts for our live events. We encourage all athletic commissions to adopt this ruling.”

By Staff of The Daily Sports Herald and news services

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