Vitor Belfort’s title bout against Chris Weidman looks to be headed to California. | Mike Sloan/Sherdog.com
The middleweight championship bout between Chris Weidman and Vitor Belfort is reportedly moving from Las Vegas to California, and with that change, the California State Athletic Commission is expected to oversee all drug testing for the fight.
According to a report from MMAFighting.com on Thursday, Nevada Athletic Commission executive director Bob Bennett said that there were no plans to randomly test Belfort because the UFC informed him that the middleweight title bout had been moved to from Las Vegas to California.
Belfort was granted a conditional license by the NAC on July 23, which would have allowed him to face Weidman at UFC 181 in Las Vegas on Dec. 6. The Brazilian’s licensing hinged on three conditions: That his first fight take place in Las Vegas, that it occurred no earlier than December and that he pay for enhanced random drug testing proposed by the NAC out of his own pocket. In addition, Belfort was required to submit both blood and urine samples, and any member of the commission had the power to order a random test on the fighter.
However, plans apparently changed when Weidman suffered a hand injury and was forced to withdraw from UFC 181. At the time, UFC President Dana White said the matchup would likely take place in February 2015. Although news of Weidman’s injury didn’t arrive until September, neither Belfort nor Weidman were tested by the NAC since the July 23 hearing, according to MMAFighting.com.
The plans for random drug screenings are still reportedly in place, only now in a different location. CSAC Executive Officer Andy Foster told Sherdog.com that while he had been told by UFC officials of plans to hold the fight in California, no official request had been made. The event, likely UFC 184, is rumored to take place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Feb. 28.
“I have no official request. I’ve been told we are. If we do get it, we’ll be testing him just like he’d be tested if he fought in Nevada,” Foster said.
Belfort admitted to failing a random drug test administered by the NAC on Feb. 7. Results of that test showed the Brazilian’s testosterone level to be at 1,472 ng/dl (nanograms per deciliter), well above the average male range of 300 to 1,100 ng/dl.
Regardless of the change in date and venue, the fact that the NAC had yet to administer a single random test to Belfort is sure to draw some scrutiny, especially considering the commission’s strong stance during the July 23 hearing.
“I’ll give you my definition [of reasonable drug testing] going forward,” NAC Commissioner Anthony Marnell said that day. “We’re going to drug test you until the day you retire. That’s my definition of reasonable. We should be in and around your career until you call it quits.
“I just want to make sure as we address the future drug testing that we are not in a position to look like fools or ever get burned -- until the day he decides he wants to hang up the gloves,” he added. “I want a 100-percent guarantee that we’re not going to get blindsided. I don’t want to get embarrassed, and I know the commission doesn’t either.”
Now, it looks like the duty of making sure Belfort is clean come fight night will fall on the CSAC.