Vitor Belfort is Out, Lyoto Machida is in at UFC 173
Posted by Jeffrey Harris on 02.28.2014
New main event for the fight card...
Fox Sports Live announced during their 1AM EST broadcast (Feb. 28) that Vitor Belfort is out of his scheduled UFC middleweight title fight with reigning champion Chris Weidman for UFC 173. Instead, the former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida will step in and fight Chris Weidman for the fight card instead.
The change comes as a result of the Nevada State Athletic Commission's recent announcement of banning the controversial testosterone replacement therapy. Vitor Belfort, who has received exemptions to use TRT in the past, issued a statement that said he would be dropping his TRT program, but due to the time frame of the announcement of the banning, he will not be applying for a license to fight in the state for the fight with Weidman. Belfort has now agreed to withdraw from the bout.
UFC President Dana White stated, per an official statement from the UFC, on the new matchup: "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. Machida was dominant in his last two fights, beating Gegard Mousasi and knocking out Mark Munoz."
Lyoto Machida is currently ranked No. 3 in UFC's middleweight division. Since moving down to 185 lbs, he defeated Mark Munoz by knockout last October and more recently won a dominant decision against Gegard Mousasi at UFC Fight Night 36 in February. He won the UFC light heavyweight title in May 2009, knocking out former champion Rashad Evans. He would go on to lose the title to Mauricio "Shogun" Rua at UFC 113 in May 2010.
UFC 173 is set for May 24 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.