MANILA, Philippines – Another major blow has hit the UFC 173 pay-per-view on May 24 (May 25 in PHI) as a knee injury forced middleweight champion Chris Weidman to withdraw from his championship clash against Lyoto Machida.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) officials broke the news on Tuesday morning (PHI time) and publicly revealed that Weidman will be kept out of action to undergo a minor knee surgery.
As a result of the unfortunate incident, the title tilt between Weidman and Machida will be moved on July 5 in the main event of UFC 175, which takes place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.
The Las Vegas-based company is expected to announce the new top bill of UFC 173 in the upcoming days.
“Weidman suffered a knee injury that will require minor surgery and his bout with Machida has been rescheduled for Saturday, July 5. A new main event for UFC 173 on May 24 will be announced in the days to come,” read a statement released by the organization.
Weidman was originally penciled to square off with Vitor Belfort in the UFC 173 headliner, but when the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) banned testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), the 36-year-old Brazilian voluntarily opted to turn down the fight.
NSAC voted unanimously last February 27 to prohibit therapeutic-use exemptions (TUE), which affects potential first-time applicants as well as previous users, who will not be granted new exemptions when they apply for a renewed permit to compete in the state.
Along with the stunning reversal of policy, the UFC has followed the lead of NSAC, revealing that the sport’s premier promotion will no longer accept therapeutic-use exceptions for TRT when acting as its own regulatory body.
Giving himself ample time to adjust his body to fighting without the aforementioned treatment, Belfort was replaced by Machida, who is a one-time UFC light heavyweight champion.
Machida (21-4) has won back-to-back bouts since dropping down to middleweight. With a victory over Weidman, the Japanese-Brazilian will join the ranks of BJ Penn and Randy Couture as the only men to win UFC titles in more than one weight class.
On the other hand, Weidman (11-0) captured the 185-pound trinket by knocking out Anderson Silva this past July at UFC 162 and then successfully defended the crown by defeating “The Spider” again at December’s UFC 168 when he checked a kick that fractured the former champion’s leg. – Rappler.com
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