Proposed Chael Sonnen vs. Vitor Belfort would be at middleweight; Wanderlei Silva not released by UFC

Ethan Miller

If Chael Sonnen fights Vitor Belfort on July 5, it will be a middleweight fight after all.

UFC president Dana White confirmed to MMAFighting.com on Friday that the proposed fight would be contested at 185 pounds, not 205, which is what Sonnen originally stated on Wednesday's episode of "UFC Tonight." Sonnen also said that a win over Belfort would make him the No. 1 contender in the middleweight division, however, when White was asked whether that title was on the line for both men, White wrote back via test message, "for Vitor it is."

Of course, for the fight to happen Belfort must first get licensed by the Nevada Athletic Commission at a hearing scheduled for June 17 in Las Vegas. NAC chairman Francisco Aguilar told MMAFighting.com on Wednesday that Belfort applied for a license last week, but since his case is considered "comprehensive" because he is over 35 years old (he's 37), he must first speak to the commission before he's granted a license to fight in the state. Belfort's February drug test in Nevada, whose results have never been made public because Belfort had yet to apply for a license in Nevada, will no doubt be discussed at the hearing next month.

The 37-year-old Sonnen was granted his fight license earlier this month.

"I don't fight at middleweight and I don't fight at light heavyweight," Sonnen told MMAFighting.com when asked about the switch, "I fight at gangster weight."

Belfort would be replacing Wanderlei Silva, who was originally scheduled to fight Sonnen at UFC 175. Silva was pulled from the fight earlier this week after he refused to take a random drug test administered by the NAC last Saturday. Reports stated that the UFC has since decided to release Silva, however, White clarified his stance to MMAFighting.com saying, "I said he was done for (the) July 5th (card) and NSAC would decide his fate."

Belfort was scheduled to fight Chris Weidman for the UFC middleweight title on May 24, but he withdrew from the fight after the NAC banned testosterone replacement therapy and was replaced by Lyoto Machida. Once the Weidman-Machida tilt was moved to July 5, Belfort wasn't considered again, but he may end up fighting on the same night as the middleweight champion after all.

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