Vitor Belfort applies for license
LAS VEGAS -- UFC middleweight contender Vitor Belfort has applied for a license to fight in the state of Nevada and will appear before the commission June 17.
Nevada State Athletic Commission chairman Francisco Aguilar confirmed the news to ESPN.com on Wednesday.
Belfort (24-10) has agreed to face Chael Sonnen at UFC 175 on July 5 in Las Vegas, if he is granted the license.
Sonnen (28-14-1) was originally set to fight Wanderlei Silva. Aguilar declined to comment on Silva's situation but confirmed he is not currently licensed to fight in the state.
The UFC issued a statement that read: "Due to issues related to Wanderlei Silva's licensing in the state of Nevada, the UFC was forced to seek a replacement opponent to face Chael Sonnen at UFC 175 on Saturday, July 5 in Las Vegas. Former UFC champion Vitor Belfort has accepted the fight with Sonnen, subject to Belfort receiving a license to compete from the Nevada Athletic Commission."
Belfort, 37, was scheduled to fight Chris Weidman for the middleweight title at UFC 173 but was pulled from the card in February when the NSAC banned testosterone-replacement-therapy from combat sports. Belfort had been approved to use the treatment in his previous three fights, all of which took place in Brazil.
Lyoto Machida agreed to replace Belfort on the card, but the title fight was eventually postponed to UFC 175 after Weidman suffered a knee injury during training.
On Feb. 7, the NSAC randomly tested Belfort while he was in Las Vegas to attend an awards show. The results of that test have not been disclosed, as privacy laws prohibit the NSAC from releasing medical information on nonlicensed fighters.
Belfort has since said he is off TRT and ready to compete again.
"From our understanding, he's said he's off the therapy 100 percent," UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta said during an interview with ESPN.com last week. "I know he's voluntarily done testing every week and every test has come back normal.
"He is going through the process of submitting an application to Nevada and, based on the criteria we've seen for other fighters [who were on TRT], he's no different. He should be eligible to be licensed in my opinion."
The original fight between Silva and Sonnen was scheduled to take place at UFC 173 last week, moved to a TUF Brazil finale Saturday and finally landed on the UFC 175 card this summer.
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