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Vitor Belfort replacing Wanderlei Silva at UFC 175, will fight Chael Sonnen

Vitor BelfortVitor Belfort is replacing Wanderlei Silva at UFC 175 and will fight Chael Sonnen on the July 5 card in Las Vegas.

Combate.com first reported the news and says Silva was pulled from the fight after missing a meeting with the Nevada State Athletic Commission.

The UFC 175 card is being headlined by Chris Weidman and Lyoto Machida. Weidman was originally slated to face Belfort at UFC 173, but Vitor pulled out of the fight amid the new crackdown on TRT. The fight was pushed back to UFC 175 after Weidman had knee surgery.

In addition to Weidman-Machida and Sonnen-Belfort, Ronda Rousey will face Alexis Davis on the card, and Urijah Faber and Stefan Struve also have fights on the card.

This shuffling of fighters is a surprise given that it looked like Belfort was initially being pulled because of TRT issues. I guess that’s all cleared up.

Lyoto Machida replaces Vitor Belfort in UFC 173 main event after TRT ban

The same day that the Nevada State Athletic Commission announced it was banning testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), one of the most notorious TRT users pulled out of his anticipated championship fight.
Lyoto MachidaThe UFC announced on FOX Sports Live Thursday night that Vitor Belfort was being pulled from his middleweight title fight against Chris Weidman at UFC 173 and will be replaced by Lyoto Machida.

Belfort, 36, has won his last three UFC fights by knockout. He fought all three in Brazil, but this fight was scheduled for Las Vegas, so he would have needed a therapeutic use exemption from NSAC in order to compete. Now that NSAC has banned TRT, he decided to pull out of the fight (or the UFC pulled him depending on what you want to believe).

Belfort says he plans to continue competing in the UFC but he won’t use TRT.

“The Nevada State Athletic Commission recently altered its policy and no longer will permit testosterone use exemptions, and will not permit a TRT program,” Belfort said in a statement via FOX Sports. “As other jurisdictions may follow suit, I am going to drop my TRT program and compete in MMA without it.

“Given the time constraints involved between now and my proposed next bout in May, I have determined not to apply for a license to fight in Nevada at this time.”

Machida, 35, is back down at middleweight from light heavyweight and will take on Weidman.

Dana White: Vitor Belfort not abusing TRT

Vitor BelfortThe recent resurgence and dominance by UFC light heavyweight Vitor Belfort have led many to question the Brazilian fighter’s use of TRT (testosterone replacement therapy), which has been a controversial topic in MMA circles.

Fighters who have been prescribed testosterone replacement therapy by a doctor can apply for therapeutic use exemptions from fight commissions. Both Belfort and 43-year-old Dan Henderson, whom Belfort beat last weekend, received TRT exemptions from Brazil’s fight commission for their bout. Belfort won the fight by a first-round head kick. It was his third consecutive win, third consecutive win by head kick, and third consecutive Knockout of the Night. Another thing all three of those fights have in common? They all took place in Brazil.

Some have speculated that Belfort is fighting in Brazil not just because of his popularity in his home country, but also because he’ll get a TRT exemption there, whereas he might not receive one from from the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Keep in mind that Belfort was fined and suspended nine months after testing positive for elevated levels of testosterone following his 2006 fight with Hendo.

Someone raised the possibility to Dana White that Belfort would have trouble being approved for a TRT exemption in the US.

“That’s not true, that’s completely not true,” White said after Saturday’s fight. “There’s no reason why Vitor Belfort can’t fight in Las Vegas or anywhere else in the United States. Vitor Belfort has not been abusing TRT. In a million f—ing years I would never let that happen … ever.”

White said he would call B.S. on Nevada if they prevented Belfort from receiving an exemption and look back at all the other instances where Nevada approved fighters with questionable pasts.

This TRT usage is a major issue in MMA whether White wants to admit it or not. It’s allowing old fighters, who likely abused steroids in the past (which would cause the drop in their testosterone levels), to drink from the fountain of youth. For the most part, it doesn’t seem very fair, regardless of what White says.

Glove touch to MMA Mania

Chael Sonnen wants Wanderlei Silva, not Vitor Belfort

Chael Sonnen impressed with a first-round submission victory over Shogun Rua at UFC Fight Night 26 on Saturday, and he said he wanted to fight Wanderlei Silva (35-12-1) next. Of course, Sonnen called out Silva in his typical bombastic way after winning his match.

Chael Sonnen“Right here on the UFC’s new home FOX Sports 1 … Wanderlei Silva. Six feet tall and 205 pounds. Boy, until I met you I didn’t know they could stack crap that high,” Sonnen said with a brash combination of humor and disrespect.

“I just got done with a world champion. If you think I want at a middle-aged comedian just for the god-damned pleasure of it, you better think again. Wanderlei Silva, three months, you and the bad guy!”

Silva, 37, beat Brian Stann in his return to light heavyweight in March. Sonnen has long antagonized Silva, though the two have never fought.

Though Sonnen wants to fight Wanderlei, he has some options; Vitor Belfort called out Sonnen over Twitter after watching Chael P. submit Shogun.

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Vitor Belfort had an unreal spinning heel kick to knock out Luke Rockhold

Vitor Belfort beat Luke Rockhold in the first round of their middlewight fight at UFC on FX 8 on Saturday with an absolutely stunning spinning heel kick to the head.

Belfort knocked Rockhold down with the kick then jumped on him for a few punches before the referee stopped the fight with 2:32 left in the round. The win improves Belfort’s record to 23-10 and gives him four wins in his last five fights, with his loss coming to Jon Jones.

“I’m stronger than ever … as I was before,” Belfort said after the fight.

When asked if he felt he deserved another shot at the UFC middleweight title, Belfort deferred comment.

“I’m here to fight. I don’t pick fights, I accept fights. The fans decide it, Dana White,” he said.

Rockhold, who drops to 10-2, praised Belfort for the spinning heel kick.

“I take my hat off. He landed a spinning heel kick to my head. I didn’t see that one coming … what can I say? He caught me with a spinning heel kick to my head. Kudos to him.”

Here’s another look at the knockdown kick from the other angle:

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Anderson Silva Breaks Out Mask at Weigh-in for Vitor Belfort UFC 126 Fight

Anderson Silva and Vitor Belfort are headlining UFC 126 in Las Vegas on Saturday evening, and the anticipation for the fight has grown throughout the week.

At the pre-fight press conference, Belfort said that Silva puts on a “mask” to try and intimidate opponents. He also accused Silva of acting in the ring to put on a show, something with which many people would agree.

Silva responded to Belfort’s accusations by breaking out a mask at the weigh-in Friday, as LBS MMA expert Alan Hull noted. The 185-pound middleweight engaged in a staredown with his fellow Brazilian, giving off the appearance that this fight is personal.

Most experts are picking The Spider to win the fight, which would be his 14th consecutive victory. If he gets the win, it sets up a possible super-fight against Georges St. Pierre who first needs to beat Jake Shields at UFC 129. Of course each fighter needs to take care of business first with wins. It all starts Saturday evening.