Vitor Belfort Secures Nevada License
Finally, the Phenom will get his UFC middleweight title shot.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission unanimously voted in favor of granting former UFC light heavyweight champion Vitor Belfort a fighting license on Wednesday.
The clearance paves the way for a UFC 181 showdown between Belfort and reigning Middleweight champion Chris Weidman on December 6th. Belfort was set to challenge Weidman at UFC 175 last May, but was forced out of the title fight after the NSAC banned Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) from combat sports last February.
Belfort has not fought in Las Vegas since UFC 126 in 2011, when he got knocked out by Anderson Silva with a spectacular front kick. However, Belfort secured permission to use TRT from the commissions of Brazil, Ontario and Pennsylvania which hosted his last six bouts.
Belfort claims that he has stopped using TRT in February. But he failed a February 7th random blood test administered by the NSAC. Belfort claimed that he took a higher injection on the day before the test because he was traveling. On May 29th, a lab test showed that Belfort’s testosterone levels were low.
Belfort admitted that it was difficult to “come off TRT” and said that he has not been “prescribed any medication as he stops TRT use”. Belfort instead said that his “prescription has been the Holy Spirit” and that it’s all about work ethic, which he says one “either has it or not.”
The NSAC’s ruling though, is subject to three conditions: First, Belfort is not allowed to appear in any professional fight before December. Second, the fight must take place in Nevada and third, he is subject to the NSAC’s enhanced drug testing program.
Speaking on behalf of the NSAC, Commissioner Anthony A. Marnell informed Belfort that the commission “intends to test him for the rest of his career and that Belfort or his team will shoulder all costs.” Belfort, who was present during the ruling replied that he will “fully cooperate with whatever the commission requests.”
Belfort zoomed atop the middleweight rankings with three consecutive knockout of the night wins in 2013. Belfort disposed Michael Bisping in two rounds while knocked out Luke Rockhold and Dan Henderson in round 1 with spectacular head kicks. Lyoto Machida replaced Belfort at UFC 175, and Weidman kept the belt with a close unanimous decision win last July 5.
Aside from being a former UFC light heavyweight champion, Belfort was also the UFC 12 Heavyweight Tournament winner and 2007 Cage Rage Light Heavyweight title. Belfort owns a first round knockout victory over the big Tank Abbott at UFC 13. But his biggest wins have been over Randy Couture, Wanderlei Silva, Rich Franklin and Anthony Johnson. All of those wins were by stoppage. Belfort has a record of 24-10 with 17 KOs and 3 submissions. UFC 181 will be his first crack at the UFC middleweight title.
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