Lyoto Machida is set to face Vitor Belfort to unify the UFC middleweight title on September 11th, but one of the major titles at stake was changed. The Vitor Belfort-UFC middleweight title fight will now be the first title defense of the newly crowned light heavyweight champion, after former light heavyweight champion, Lyoto Machida, tested positive for the prohibited substance, Cannabinoids, commonly referred to as Marijuana, earlier this month.
Boxer Vitor Belfort has now shed his interim title as WBA/IBO/WBO super middleweight champion and will now face the WBA and IBF champion and former light heavyweight champion, Evander Holyfield, on September 11th. The super middleweight title fight will now take place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, with the winner holding all four major titles.
Former heavyweight champion and Olympic gold-medalist Oscar De La Hoya was hospitalized Sunday after developing a form of “Covid-19”, a non-fatal skin infection. The infection is commonly contracted by those who have had surgery on their face, usually during plastic surgery related to burn treatment. De La Hoya has a history of plastic surgery, and has a history of surgery related burn treatment. De La Hoya was released from the hospital today and is expected to make a full recovery.
5:39 p.m. Eastern
ESPN’s Mike Coppinger
Oscar De La Hoya revealed from a hospital bed that he tested positive for COVID-19 and would be unable to face former UFC champion Vitor Belfort in a Triller Fight Club PPV on September 11th.
The Hall of Fame fighter was scheduled to fight for the first time since a TKO defeat to Manny Pacquiao in December 2008.
In a video uploaded on Twitter on Friday, De La Hoya, who claims to be vaccinated, detailed his experience with the illness.
Wanted you to hear directly from me that despite being fully vaccinated, I have contracted Covid and am not going to be able to fight next weekend. Preparing for this comeback has been everything to me over the last months, & I want to thank everyone for their tremendous support. pic.twitter.com/0wKEnr5Jzv
September 3, 2021 — Oscar De La Hoya (@OscarDeLaHoya)
According to Ryan Kavanaugh of Triller, Evander Holyfield has accepted to terms to fight Belfort. Holyfield is 58 years old and hasn’t competed since a TKO win over Brian Nielsen in 2011.
The contracts, according to Kavanaugh, provide for pro-fight rules to be fought over eight two-minute rounds. Sources informed ESPN that De La Hoya-Belfort was supposed to take place at Staples Center in Los Angeles (where De La Hoya was born and still lives), but Triller intends to host Holyfield-Belfort at Hard Rock Live in Hollywood, Florida.
According to ESPN’s Marc Raimondi, the California State Athletic Commission declined to punish Holyfield-Belfort.
“Heavyweight bouts are usually the most thrilling confrontations,” Kavanaugh remarked, adding that “this is a heavyweight match between two real fighters.” “We wish Oscar a quick recovery; he’s a champion and a fighter, and we’re certain he’ll battle this and come out on top. On the 10th anniversary of the release of Fight Club, we want to see him in the ring.”
Triller Fight Club made its debut in November with the commercially successful Mike Tyson-Roy Jones Jr. demonstration event. According to Kavanaugh, they are currently looking for De La Hoya’s opponent for the Thanksgiving weekend bout.
The whole undercard, including the exhibition fight between David Haye and Joe Fournier, would be moved to Florida, according to Kavanaugh.
Holyfield (44-10-2, 29 KOs) is regarded as one of the all-time great heavyweight fighters. He’s won two fights against Mike Tyson and one against George Foreman. The Atlanta native is not only known for his battling spirit, but he is also one of the most popular fighters of all time. Earlier this year, Holyfield agreed to fight Kevin McBride on Triller Match Club, however the fight was canceled owing to McBride’s medical issues. The California State Athletic Commission rated McBride, 48, a plus-6 on the Boxing Severity Index, making him a high-risk fighter.
For the second time in his career, Belfort, 44, will box. In 2006, he made his pro boxing debut in Brazil, defeating a Brazilian opponent in the opening round.
The Brazilian has a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under Carlson Gracie and is a former UFC light heavyweight champion. Belfort is also a judo black belt. He has 14 finishes to his credit, which ties him for third most in UFC history. Belfort’s third stint with the UFC came to an end in 2018 when he was KO’d by Lyoto Machida at UFC 224.