Despite what the rumor mill had suggested over the weekend, Vitor Belfort (Pictured) did not flunk his “UFC on FX 7” drug test. We all now know Thiago Tavares is the guilty party.
However, that doesn’t mean Belfort escaped the MMA headlines. The UFC has confirmed the 35-year-old received a therapeutic-use exemption (TUE) for testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) in his TKO victory over Michael Bisping.
“Belfort has been on a medically approved testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) regimen under the supervision of a medical doctor from the State of Nevada, after being diagnosed with hypogonadism, or low testosterone,” the UFC expressed in their official statement. “The purpose of a medically administered TRT regimen is to allow patients with hypogonadism to maintain testosterone levels within a range that is normal for an adult male.”
This explains why Belfort sidestepped the TRT question prior to his bout with Bisping.
The promotion didn’t reveal how long Belfort has been on the controversial treatment. An unnamed fighter was granted a TUE for TRT at UFC 152, the same September night Belfort lost to light heavyweight king Jon Jones.
The reason why most aren’t on board with TRT is simple – it’s seen as circumventing the system to get prescribed a legal performance-enhancing drug.
The cheater’s handbook for TRT suggests athletes are manipulating the regimen while preparing for a fight. They will jack up their testosterone levels beyond normal ranges in order to push their bodies to its outermost limit. As showtime steadily approaches, they will then taper off the treatment to get their testosterone back to a natural level – therefore, no flunked drug tests.
Because MMA organizations and athletic commissions (except Nevada) don’t conduct random, out-of-competition exams, there’s no way to police TRT use – or any performance-enhancing substances, for that matter.
Belfort tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone in 2006.