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Vitor Belfort scratched from UFC 122 bout against Yushin Okami (UPDATE)

UPDATE: Wednesday afternoon UFC President Dana White announced via his Twitter page that Belfort is not injured and will fight Silva for the title next (with the Marquardt/Okami winner determining the next contender in line for a shot).

Whether viewed as one more example in an unfortunate pattern or a curious coincidence given UFC middleweight champ Anderson Silva’s newly freed fight-schedule, it appears Vitor Belfort will no longer see action on November 23rd at UFC 122 in Germany as originally expected due to an undisclosed injury. Belfort had been previously attached to a match-up against 25-5 Yushin Okami at the event.

Recently victorious Nate Marquardt will step in to serve as the Brazilian’s replacement against Okami in the show’s headlining bout.

News of the change in plans, as well as the reason given, was originally reported by MMAWeekly.

Belfort’s withdrawal from UFC 122 marks the fourth straight time an injury has interfered with one of his scheduled fights. The first three involved his long-rumored clash with Silva, though in fairness to “The Phenom” two of the postponements were related to the 185-pound champion’s health rather than his own.

The timing of the announcement is also interesting given Chael Sonnen’s recent hit for having used performance enhancing drugs during the build towards his title-fight against “The Spider” at UFC 117. Though Sonnen plans to appeal the California State Athletic Commission’s ruling, it is still likely he will be given a suspension of at least six months and thereby no longer be available for his previously expected rematch against Silva on January 1st, 2011 at UFC 125. With Belfort needing an undetermined amount of time to heal, and the UFC’s past desire to put him in the Octagon against Silva, it seems possible he could step into the vacancy created by Sonnen’s infraction.

Belfort has not fought since beating Rich Franklin via first-round TKO in September 2009 at UFC 103. He also has yet to compete for the organization as a true 185-pounder, as his bout against Franklin took place at a catch-weight of 195 pounds. However, the hard-hitting Brazilian is 5-0 since 2007 with four of the wins being strike-based finishes. He is 19-8 in his career with notable wins in the past over Randy Couture and Wanderlei Silva.

  • elkymbo says:

    Bloody hell! The only ufc I’ve missed was Vitor vs Franklin and previous to that the last time I saw him fight was back in the 70’s some time. I’m starting go get pissed off dammit!

  • hindsightufuk says:

    cant help thinking Vitor is going to become irrelevant very quickly at this rate
    all the hard work he has put in will count for nothing if he doesnt compete soon

  • toondonjuan says:

    I see Belfort as the only fighter in the middleweight division who can go toe to to with Silva stood up. I have been wanting to see those two fight since it was first announced back in 1982 (or it seems like that long ago)

  • Rece Rock says:

    I know Nate is getting the shot but I’d love to see the Crippler in the mix at the top of the division

  • redwire says:

    Not super interested in seeing Nate up against another wrestler. Okami is no Sonnen, but still.

    Is this article implying that there is a bit of a conspiracy going on here, either by Vitor or the UFC? Get ‘injured’ so that it will be the Phenom vs the Spider?

  • moosebaby02 says:

    as much as I love Nate The Great (man crush) i agree with Rece on the Crippler getting the mix. he is starting to grow on me

  • boomnutz says:

    lol, that’s exactly what they were implying…finally the world is right, Silva vs Vitor hopefully then Nate or Yushin, hopefully in the mean time Sonnen loses his first fight back and goes back to being irrelevant, then Silva can move on to either GSP or a LHW bout.

    O btw the way, Okami’s not really a wrestler he’s a judoka, obivously it’s very similar, but the Nate won’t have to worry about a shot, his grappling skills should be more effective against Okami than Sonnen, although Okami could very well be too much for Nate, we’ll see

  • MCM says:

    So what kinda of injury would prevent him from being able to compete in Nov. but then allow him to have a full training camp to be ready to fight 1 month latter? If it’s a conspiracy, it’s a weak one. If it’s a real injury then he won’t be able to compete against the Spider on Jan 1st anyway.

    At this point Vitor has been out of action for a year. Couple that with the fact that he has never fought at 185 inside the octagon and can’t get a fight booked, he should be out of the title picture, IMO anyway.

    If Sonnen can’t face AS in a rematch, Silva should fight the winner of Nate/Yushin, just not at the NYE show. If Leben can get passed Wandy, I could see the UFC parring him up against Vitor, which is a fight a lot of fans wanted anyway. I could see the winner of that fight getting a title shot as well.

    Like I said in another thread, the 185lb division sure is exciting these days.

  • Angry Mike says:

    I still say that Belfort needs at least one and possibly two quality wins before he gets the title shot. He looked good against Franklin, but that was a year ago and his only UFC fight. He looked impressive in his wins outside the UFC, but one was against Terry Martin and the other was Matt Lindland. The Martin fight was in 2008, more than two years ago. Not enough of a resume for the top contender slot. If this is just a pretext to move him into a fight against Silva now that Sonnen’s on the sidelines, I say he hasn’t earned it yet.

  • manny says:

    hmmm… I think the ufc is seeting up Vitor vs Silva early next yr which is why he’s scratch against Okami. Nate is set to fight okami now. I see other reports that say he’s fine and the injury is not as bad. If this is true not sure why they would call it an injury and finally the MW belt is about to be challenged but Silva for the WIn

  • manny says:

    Also, I would love to see a rematch between nate & palhares bc it didn’t show enought for nate to be back in the mix. Yes he won by tko but only bc palhares wasnt looking. The first 3 mins or so he was scared to exchange or get taken down.

  • MCM says:

    Should Chris Horodecki get a rematch against Anthony Njokuani, after all his back was turned and he was running away. [eye roll]. The fact that Palhares wasn’t looking is entirely his fault, the fact that he received his first ever TKO is entirely Nate’s fault. If they fought again the smart money would still be on Marquart. Nate is a consensus top 3-4 MW in the world, one legit loss since a title shot in 07 does not take him out of the mix. Two wins over top 10 fighters definitely puts him in the #1 contender spot.

  • Guthookd says:

    Same damn shit Marcus Aurelio pulled.

    I dont’ think it’s very cool. Belfort should be fighting Okami for the shot. That’s what they set up and that’s what should go down IMO.

  • Dufresne says:

    I’m all for these two fighting, I just don’t think Belfort has earned a title shot yet.

    And where does that leave Okami? That guys keeps winning fights and keeps getting crapped on by the UFC. He’s 17-3 in his last 20 fights with those 3 losses coming to Jake Shields, Rich Franklin, and Chael Sonnen.

    I just don’t understand how he hasn’t gotten a title fight yet when they managed to give one to Thales Leites and Maia, both of whom should have been 1-1 going into their title shots (if you win a split decision after your opponent is docked two points, one of which was the refs mistake, you lost the damn fight).

  • MCM says:

    Bullshit Dana! Sonnen was the first guy since Hendo in ’08 to have actually earned a shot at the MW title (and even Hendo was coming off a loss) and now before the smoke is even cleared with him, Dana is back to throwing in whom ever he feels like with AS. I get that it’s a business, I get that they need to put on money making fights, but this kinda BS is not only damaging to Silva’s claim as the best P4P fighter but makes the UFC MW title look like a joke. I call shenanigans! Boooo-urns Dana White.

  • davis says:

    Vitor is slated to fight Silva on New Year’s Day and Nate has moved up to fight Okami for the next shot.

  • moosebaby02 says:

    Vitor is not hurt
    :Early reports had suggested Belfort had picked up an injury, but coach Shawn Tompkins revealed on Facebook that the Brazilian has pulled out for a different reason.

    “You will receive Vitor Belfort news very soon,” said Tompkins. “All I can tell you as his coach is that he is 100% healthy.”

    so its Nate The Great vs Okami to get a shot at the winner of Belfort vs Anderson.
    now i did not agree when the gave Vitor a shot in the first place instead of Nate The Great (man crush) and i dont agree now but this is the fight that Dana/Zuffa wanted in the first place and the fight that Vitor fans were screaming for as well.
    I would have given Nate the shot and the winner of Vitor vs Okami get a shot then the winner of Leban vs Wandi next or a to take on the loser of the Okami vs Vitor to get the shot. but who am i but a dumb ass loyal fan who pays for all PPV’s when the are on

    I agree MCM
    shenanigans! Boooo-urns Dana White.

  • bigbadjohn says:

    I for one would much rather see Vitor than Nate get the shot. Sure, Belfort hasn’t proven himself at 185 but at least he’s a fresh opponent. Nate got a break against Palhares, definitely didnt show anything which would make me think he’s got a better chance the 2nd go-round with the Spider. Though I do believe Vitor wouldnt last the distance with Sonnen as Okami and Nate did.

  • Rece Rock says:

    Sounds good crippler is on the 125 card also… Things are somewhat interesting in the division again…

  • danw84 says:

    I’m happy to see Belfrot fighting Silva simply for the fact that it will be something new and interesting. Watching Silva fight a striker is far more interesting to me than watching him fight someone who just wants to pull guard, weakly try to stand in hopes of taking it to the ground, or (while effective to an extent) lay on him and weakly beat on him.

  • elkymbo says:

    Pretty much what we are seeing here is a businessman in action. This is basically catering to the mob and not the true mma fan who goes on skill set not hero worship. But truth be told I would love to see Vitor knock Silva the fuck out.

  • STM199 says:

    Lets put this into prespective:
    First off Belfort does NOT deserve a shot at Silva. One win against a former champ – Franklin should not give you a shot at the title. As previously mentioned, Belfort’s two previous wins were NOT in the UFC and against two washed up fighter IMO.

    Here are other title rematches that I shook my head wondering why.

    UFC 79 – GSP V. Hughes. Hughes lost the title to GSP at UFC 65. Wins his next fight and gets another shot?

    Who cares if these were close fights. Let the next person get a shot.

    Machida v. Shogun 2
    Penn v. Edger 2

    Sonen v. Silva 2 is another one that shouldn’t have been set.

    My thought is that the winner of Marquardt v. Okami should get Silva next and the winner of Belfort v. Leben or Belcher would get the next title shot.

    Obviously the UFC really want’s Belfort to get a shot, but it’s rediculously too soon.

  • bivinsm says:

    Lets pretend Vitor gets healthy and comes back and kicks someones ass in a big way. Then Stays healthy enough to Fight the champ and wins. What are the odds he stays healthy enough to defend it? This guy is so hot and cold he should market his own ice packs.


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