Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight number one contender Vitor Belfort, who was put into a holding pattern earlier this week, has issued a statement on his Facebook page informing mixed martial arts (MMA) fans that it was not his decision to withdraw from UFC 173.
That call came from UFC.
Belfort was originally expected to throw hands opposite Chris Weidman over Memorial Day Weekend; however, a surprise ruling by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) banning the use of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), threw a wrench into those plans.
"The Phenom" will still get his title shot, according to his latest social media post, he'll just have to wait a few months.
Guilherme Cruz has the translation:
"I never gave up on UFC 173 fight and never said that. Any information about it in the media is not true. What I said was that I'll ‘quit on TRT,' and not ‘quit on the fight,' to continue my dream to fight. The UFC has decided to put another opponent in my place because of the fact that I won't have time to suit NSAC's new rules. According to the UFC, I will fight the winner of Weidman vs. Lyoto under the athletic commission new rules. I'm sorry that it happened and I appreciate the strength and understanding of all the fans, sponsors, UFC and the athletic commissions."
Compare this to his original statement here.
After Belfort was removed from the May 24, 2014 pay-per-view (PPV) event in Las Vegas, Nevada, the promotion quickly replaced him with Lyoto Machida, who is a former world champion at 205 pounds and 2-0 since dropping down to middleweight.
Read "The Dragon's" statement here.
The decision to re-work the UFC 173 headliner will give Belfort the time he needs to wean off his TRT treatments and get back into the thick of things, though I'm sure the decision to keep him in the top spot is not going to sit well with competing fighters looking to get their shot.