Morning Report: Lorenzo Fertitta confirms UFC's plans for Chris Weidman vs. Vitor Belfort in Las Vegas

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

According to a report from ESPN's Brett Okamoto, UFC CEO and owner Lorenzo Fertitta has confirmed plans to next pit middleweight champion Chris Weidman against Vitor Belfort in Las Vegas, Nevada in May or July 2014, depending on Weidman's health.

Weidman, of course, most recently defended his title to former champion Anderson Silva Dec. 28 at UFC 168, scoring a technical knockout just 1:16 into the second round, seemingly uninjured. However, Weidman hinted post-fight that he struggled with a possible meniscus tear throughout training camp, possibly requiring surgery. He also mentioned the probable need for a scope to clear out floating bodies of cartilage in the same knee.

We learned earlier this week that the UFC was interested in hosting the bout in Las Vegas when the promotion reportedly informally let the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) know. A bit of finesse in what could be a tricky situation should the NSAC hold to their policy of not allowing a therapeutic-use exemption for testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) if that individual's needs derive from past non-sanctioned use. Belfort, who has competed with a TUE since 2011, tested positive for 4-hydroxytestosterone, an illegal substance, following his 2006 bout with Dan Henderson at PRIDE 32 held in Nevada. Although he claimed he would halt TRT for a title shot, Belfort indicated he'd be disenfranchised without the exemption. "I've already said that, if they agree with it, I would (stop doing TRT)," said Belfort in October. "No problem at all. If they want me to get there in a disadvantage, that's ok."

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5 MUST-READ STORIES

Unequivocally. Ray Longo believes Chris Weidman's moment has been unfairly overshadowed by Anderson Silva's leg injury.

Middleweight rankings. With UFC 168 behind us, it's time to overhaul the middleweight division's standings.

'I'll never be whole.' Corey Hill gives great personal insight into Anderson Silva's battle back from injury through his own experience.

Asian expansion. Managing Director for UFC Asia Mark Fischer reveals that the UFC targets five to seven events in Asia in 2014.

Belt on the loose? Did the UFC really snag Georges St-Pierre's belt while he was in the shower after UFC 167?

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MEDIA STEW

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UFC Singapore weigh-ins.

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Anderson Silva's orthopedic surgeon explains his procedure.

And looking better.

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Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye 2013, Philip De Fries vs. Brett Rogers, Shinya Aoki vs. Toshikatsu Harada and Ikuhisa Minowa def. Atsushi Sawada.

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Quick profile on Mairbek Taisumov before he makes his UFC debut this weekend.

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Cage Warriors 63 recap.

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Tarec Saffiedine's UFC Singapore training vlog.

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This is the last one. I promise.

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Long watches.

UFC 168: Rousey Takes Arms, Silva Breaks Leg (Gracie Breakdown)

DARE - THE MILLION DOLLAR TOURNAMENT - SWAMP vs LOKOMOTIV - EP 02 / 2013 - Live from Bangkok

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TWEETS

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Star support.

Meanwhile...

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Get well soon.

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Like the fight?

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Congrats on a great career.

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Good luck.

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I like to believe there's bacon on the other side, too.

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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Announced Dec. 31-Jan. 2 2014

Bobby Green out, Abel Trujillo vs. Jamie Varner at UFC 169

Jason High out, Charlie Brenneman vs. Beneil Dariush at UFC Fight Night 35

Lewis Gonzalez out, Justin Gaethje vs. Rich Patishnock at WSOF 8

Felipe Arantes vs. Maximo Blanco at UFC Fight Night 36

Jorge Patino vs. Luis Palomino slated for WSOF 8

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FANPOST OF THE DAY

Today's Fanpost of the Day comes via okgangster.

One Fight Fans Perspective: UFC 168

December 28, 2013, the day fight fans had been counting down to; like eager children waiting for Christmas. What a Christmas present it was. The most anticipated fight of the year was set to take place Chris Weidman vs Anderson Silva, with Silva being the challenger for the first time in seven years. This fight at the forefront and a stellar card supporting it, this was set to be one of the most memorable nights of the year.

Dustin "The Diamond" Poirier fought Diego Brandao in PPV's first fight. After a back and forth round Poirier screeched (think about it) Brandao with six seconds left in the first. This fight didn't do much for Poirier, he was expected to beat Brandao and he did, so people had called this a gimme fight for Poirier. Dennis Siver seems like a good next fight for him. Brandao fell flat. Which includes him missing weight by a massive amount on top of allegedly threating to stab Poirier; he could be looking at a lengthy suspension. He was the underdog, didn't have anything to lose, but he somehow found a way screw the pooch. Fights with either Manvel Gamburyan or Eric Koch would be interesting to see.

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Check out the rest of the post here.

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Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me up on Twitter @SaintMMA and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.

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