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Vitor Belfort's license to fight Chris Weidman at UFC 187 approved by Nevada commission

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Vitor Belfort's license application to fight at UFC 187 was approved by the Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) on Monday. Belfort's license approval means that his upcoming middleweight title challenge against UFC champion Chris Weidman will proceed as expected, barring any injuries or drug testing failures ahead of the May 23 pay-per-view event.

UFC 187 is slated to take place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, NV.

Belfort has undergone extensive random drug screening ahead of the bout, stemming from his Feb. 2014 random testing failure for elevated levels of testosterone. Belfort was at the time undergoing testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), a controversial therapy which has since been banned by the NAC. That testing failure was the second of Belfort's career, following an Oct. 2006 drug test for the anabolic steroid 4-Hydroxytestosterone.

Belfort withheld information regarding his Feb. 2014 testing failure for several months, only releasing it once it was apparent that the news would come to light during his initial license application to fight Weidman in Dec. 2014 at UFC 181. Belfort received a stern talking to for his testing failure, along with a promise from the NAC to be "in and around your career until the day you call it quits."

"In the beginning it was hard," Belfort said on Monday regarding his post-TRT athletic life. "But I believe in hard work. I don't believe things are easy. I thank God for giving me the strength that I need, the perseverance. I've been relentless in my training, so that's it.

"I see us as a team," Belfort continued. "I've been doing this for 20 years. Twenty years ago I was the youngest champion in the UFC, and I'm about to get my third title on May 23. So I'm willing to work with you guys 100-percent.

"Anything you need from me, I'm willing, and I'm thankful. I'm thankful for this opportunity."

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