One of the factors involved with an MMA bout in Las Vegas involving Vitor Belfort is licensing. All fighters have to be licensed in the state a bout is taking place in for that bout to take place. A UFC middleweight title bout between current champion Chris Weidman and Belfort is being worked on by the promotion with the hopes of the bout taking place later this year and in Las Vegas.
Current Nevada State Athletic Commission Chairman Francisco Aguilar spoke to MMA Junkie about the main hurdle surrounding a bout in Las Vegas that has Belfort competing in it. Here are some of the highlights of Aguilar’s interview:
“I think TRT is something new, and [an exemption] hasn’t been used very frequently. To have it regulated in regards to Mr. Belfort, it’s new territory for us. But I don’t think that sways the decision one way or the other.”
“The issue [Belfort getting a license] is going to come from a TRT exemption…I don’t want to speculate on [whether Belfort will get an exemption] until I hear the full story. I think we’ve dealt with some pretty unique issues with different fighters, and we’ve got to take each issue individually.”
Several UFC fighters have been granted TRT (testosterone replacement therapy) exemptions before, but not in Nevada. The other issue at hand, one I mentioned in an earlier article on this subject, is Belfort’s previous failed drug test following a bout in 2006.
If Belfort is not granted a TRT exemption, it’s very likely that a Weidman/Belfort title bout won’t take place in Las Vegas. If that scenario takes shape, a Weidman/Belfort title bout is still possible, but would most likely take place in Canada or Brazil. This theory comes from the fact that Belfort has only fought in these two countries over the last few years.
Fight fans want to see Belfort get a shot at the title because he is clearly the top contender in the middleweight division. Dana White, Joe Silva, and Lorenzo Fertita also want to see this bout happen because they can all smell money in this bout. The only problem is with the therapy that has been aiding Belfort in continuing his career.
Weidman is undefeated as a pro MMA fighter at 11-0 with his last two bouts being wins over Anderson Silva. The first win was what won Weidman the middleweight title, though that bout is one that a fair amount of fight fans (myself included) believed was fixed or appeared to be fixed. Weidman’s second win over Silva came a little less than a month ago at UFC 168 when Silva broke his left leg during the second round.
Belfort has fought in UFC, Pride FC, Strikeforce, Affliction, and Cage Rage during his career. Belfort is 13-6 in UFC during stints from 1997-98, 2002-05, and 2009 through the present. Belfort is a former UFC light heavyweight and Cage Rage light heavyweight champion as well as the winner of the heavyweight tournament at UFC 12–Belfort’s debut in UFC.
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