Like a fine wine, UFC middleweight Vitor Belfort (pictured) appears to be getting better with age. The only problem with that vino is its last two performances are marred in testosterone replacement therapy (TRT).
Belfort has said next to nothing about his consumption of the controversial treatment, besides the fact he has always been upfront with the UFC regarding his synthetic testosterone injections. Outside of that, the 36-year-old has been mum – and sometimes mean – with the media.
But if TRT is legal with a doctor’s note, and Belfort always maintains his levels of testosterone below the permitted limits, why not be completely transparent about his use? Why not put to bed any and all questions surrounding the medically prescribed regimen and how it’s not giving him an unfair advantage?
Possibly because deep down, Belfort believes his last two highlight reel KO’s will be perceived as completely tainted courtesy of TRT. Perhaps even deeper down, “The Phenom” knows TRT is not completely kosher.
In March, two months after Belfort posterized Michael Bisping and one month after it was revealed TRT assisted him for that fight, UFC president Dana White took a firm stance against Belfort’s consumption of TRT by stating “if he can’t stop taking it, maybe it’s time to hang ‘em up.”
Brian Stann, fellow 185-pound contender and one of MMA’s most respected and respectful competitors, took exception to Belfort’s use of TRT immediately after he put Luke Rockhold to sleep on Saturday. “I am not trying to be a jerk & not jealous of other fighter success, I am secure in who I am. Allowing pro fighters to inject test is just plain ridiculous,” Stann tweeted.
Belfort supporters (including the Brazilian media who boisterously cheered Belfort after he demanded someone “beat up” a reporter for politely asking him about TRT during Saturday’s post-fight press conference. True story.) are wondering why their man is taking all the heat? He’s certainly not the only one on TRT.
Is it because Belfort’s the lone known TRT user currently achieving high levels of success? Or is it due to the fact he’s the only fighter on TRT who previously flunked a drug test courtesy of elevated levels of testosterone?
Yeah, about that 2006 incident in Las Vegas…
Nevada State Athletic Commission executive director Keith Kizer recently said Belfort would never be granted a Therapeutic Use Exemption for TRT by his committee because of his prior PED abuse.
If the “Fight Capital of the World” won’t license a TRT-fueled Belfort, it’s hard to believe any other athletic commission in America will, either. So where does that leave Belfort?
After Chris Weidman gets his crack at Anderson Silva’s middleweight crown at UFC 162, Belfort’s the consensus top contender. Will Belfort suddenly stop taking TRT, something his doctor risked his medical license for by stating his patient needs it in order to compete, or will the UFC merely promote him as an out-of-the-country-only fighter?
While Belfort seems to have discovered the fountain of youth 17 years after his first professional fight, that water might be too tainted with TRT and that’s why his detractors are having difficulty digesting his late-career resurgence.