Vitor Belfort earned a shot at Chris Weidman's UFC middleweight title by putting together a three fight winning streak during 2013. During that run, Belfort earned three Knockout of the Night bonuses. Two of those fights ended in the first round and one came to a close in the second round. One of those KO's also earned Belfort recognition for Knockout of the Year at the 2013 World MMA Awards.
That title fight between Weidman and Belfort was supposed to headline UFC 173 in May. I say supposed to because on the same day that the Nevada State Athletic Commission outlawed the use of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), Belfort, who has become the poster boy of TRT, withdrew from the fight, and was replaced by Lyoto Machida.
The statement of withdrawal that was attributed to Belfort, and broadcast on Fox Sports 1 stated, "The Nevada State Athletic Commission recently altered its policy and no longer will permit testosterone use exemptions, and will not permit a TRT program. 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."
Belfort later took to Instagram and said that he would be waiting for the winner of the Weidman versus Machida matchup.
One person that believes Belfort should get the chance to fight the winner of Weidman versus Machida is Belfort's teammate, Rashad Evans. Evans, appearing on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour, had the following to say about Belfort's future without the use of TRT, "I don't think he needs to compete with TRT. He's a great fighter, great athlete. He doesn't need it. I see so many people, they say such negative and nasty things about him and there's been people that like to make him the face of TRT, like there wasn't so many other fighters who've done it, who does it. I don't really think it's fair for people to put that on him and make it seem like he's a cheater when he was only doing what was in the rules to do."
Evans went on to say that his hope is that Belfort will compete for UFC gold, and that when he does he will show MMA fans that the three knockout wins Belfort put together during 2013 were the result of "his ability and hard work," and not because he was using TRT.