Lyoto Machida is jumping into the ring with UFC champion Chris Weidman for the middleweight title in May, because a new Nevada drug law has denied Vitor Belfort the opportunity.
Lyoto Machida, 35, is on the fight card now against Chris Weidman, 29, for the UFC middleweight title match. Lyoto replaces Vitor Belfort, 36, who was kicked off the card because of the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s new ban on the very practices that helped Vitor rise through the ranks of the UFC.
Drug Ruling Knocks Out Vitor Belfort — Lyoto Machida Fights For Title
Vitor fought hard to get to the upcoming UFC 173 middleweight title match in May, but the very same methods he used to make it this far have backfired, reports Fox Sports.
The fighter has been a constant user and big proponent of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), but recently the Nevada State Athletic Commission has decided to ban TRT. The NSAC made the announcement on Feb. 27. The ruling also strikes down previously approved exemptions for athletes already using the treatment. The UFC has acknowledged the new law and that means Vitor is out.
Lyoto now steps into the main event at UFC 173 following two victories since dropping down to the middleweight division last year. The rising UFC fighter is the former light heavyweight champion who knocked out Mark Munoz in his first 185-pound fight before a unanimous victory over former Strikeforce champ Gegard Mousasi earlier, on Feb. 15.
Lyoto Machida Fights For Title Match Against Chris Weidman — Vitor Belfort Is Out
Current middleweight champion Chris has been outspoken in his support of an outright ban on TRT. The champ is more than happy to be stepping into the ring now with Lyoto.
“Machida is a dangerous fighter and he knows what it takes to become champion,” Weidman said. “He’s been on my radar since he drop to 185 pounds — so I’m looking forward to defending my title against him at UFC 173 in May.”
— Bryant Perkins