I've got some bad news for at least one half of the UFC 173 main event.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) today (Feb. 27, 2014) issued a statewide ban on testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), according to Nevada's own Adam Hill, which means any and all fighters hoping to score a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) for the controversial treatment are shit out of luck.
Including Vitor Belfort.
"The Phenom" has been just that -- phenomenal -- since undergoing TRT in 2012. After coming up short against Jon Jones in Toronto, the Brazilian dropped back down to middleweight and smashed Michael Bisping, Luke Rockhold and most recently, Dan Henderson.
All by head-kick knockout.
The latter of which scored him a 185-pound title fight against Chris Weidman in the main event of UFC 173 on May 24, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada, a place where Belfort will no longer be able to "play fair." The same goes for Chael Sonnen, Frank Mir and a slew of other mixed martial arts (MMA) veterans with a history of TRT exemptions.
Today's ban, which UFC President Dana White called a "great day for the sport," includes any and all past applicants, regardless of whether or not they've previously received a TUE.
That won't stop anyone from looking for an exemption to compete elsewhere; however, it's not uncommon for other stateside commissions to follow Nevada's lead in matters of athletic regulation, so don't be surprised to see a trickle-down effect in the coming months.
Even for UFC, who uses the NSAC guidelines when it self-regulates overseas.
NSAC Chairman Francisco Aguilar made it clear that the state's governing body would be discussing its TUE policy at today's regularly-scheduled meeting (details), specifically to bring clarity to the muddy waters of TRT, before it would make a decision on Belfort's participation at UFC 173.
Looks like Keith Kizer was right.
Not that it matters, as Belfort has previously agreed to stop the treatment in order to compete for Weidman's title (see those comments here). But the question most fight fans have in light of today's announcement, is how much will it affect his performance, if at all?
Time will tell.