UFC 173: Lyoto Machida Faces Chris Weidman After Belfort Withdraws

Jeremy Botter@jeremybotterMMA Senior WriterFebruary 28, 2014

Jason Silva/USA Today

On the heels of Nevada's surprising and historic Thursday ban of testosterone replacement therapy in combat sports came something a little less surprising: Vitor Belfort, long considered the poster child of the controversial TRT movement, has been replaced by Lyoto Machida at UFC 173.

Belfort willingly withdrew from the title fight and told Fox Sports Live he would be dropping the testosterone replacement therapy program and would be competing without it. He said that given the time constraints between now and his next fight, he was opting not to apply for a license to fight in Nevada.

The UFC quickly moved to find a replacement opponent for Chris Weidman at UFC 173. Lyoto Machida, the former light heavyweight champion who is 2-0 since dropping to middleweight, was tabbed and will face Weidman on May 24.

The news was announced on Thursday night's episode of Fox Sports Live.

Earlier on Thursday, Bleacher Report attended a meeting of the Nevada Athletic Commission, where the panel made the surprising decision to ban therapeutic usage exemptions for testosterone replacement therapy. TRT was on the agenda for the day, but few expected them to issue such a sweeping and forward-thinking ruling. The ban included not only future applications for TRT, but current fighters given exemptions as well.

Stay tuned for continuing updates to this story.