Lorenzo Fertitta Explains Why Vitor Belfort Was Replaced By Lyoto Machida

Lorenzo Fertitta Explains Why Vitor Belfort Was Replaced By Lyoto Machida

UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta didn’t try to spin the decision regarding Vitor Belfort any certain way.

Instead, Fertitta admitted that the move by the Nevada Athletic Commission to ban TRT was the sole purpose for removing Belfort from UFC 173 and a title fight with Chris Weidman.

Last week, the commission voted to ban the use of TRT, something Belfort has admitted to using for his three previous wins in Brazil. With that knowledge in hand, the UFC took Belfort out and inserted Lyoto Machida into the UFC 173 card.

Belfort plans to work his way off TRT and compete for the UFC title later this year.

“You’ve got to get commercials in two-to-three months early. We’ve got to get key art done. We’ve got a fight to promote and Vitor, because (the commission) came down with this ruling, Vitor is going to have to comply,” said Fertitta, in an interview with Yahoo! Sports. “We don’t know how long that process will take. We can’t be in limbo as a company. We need to promote a fight.”

Fertitta added that once the licensing of Belfort gets finished, “we could revisit this thing”

“But we have a fight to promote on the 24th and we can’t sit around in limbo and wonder whether he’s going to be eligible to fight,” he said.