Hours after the UFC announced Lyoto Machida will replace "The Phenom" in a title fight with Chris Weidman on May 24 in Las Vegas, Nevada, Belfort posted a statement on his Facebook page on the subject.
According to the Brazilian, he didn’t decide withdraw from UFC 173 after the Nevada State Athletic Commission opted to ban the testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) on Thursday.
"Vitor Belfort didn’t give up on the fight," he wrote, "he was forced to give up.
"I never gave up on UFC 173 fight and never said that. Any information about it in the media is not true. What I said was that I’ll ‘quit on TRT’, and not ‘quit on the fight’, to continue my dream to fight."
Belfort says that he needed more time to get ready for a fight without the use of TRT, and he expects to fight the winner of Weidman vs. Machida when he returns.
"The UFC has decided to put another opponent in my place because of the fact that I won’t have time to suit NSAC’s new rules," he said. "According to the UFC, I will fight the winner of Weidman vs. Lyoto under the athletic commission new rules.
"I’m sorry that it happened and I appreciate the strength and understanding of all the fans, sponsors, UFC and the athletic commissions."