More than that, he looked like a coward in the aftermath of UFC on FX 8, all because of three simple little letters: TRT.
Put "The Phenom" inside the Octagon and he often looks like an unstoppable wrecking machine, but just ask Belfort about the testosterone replacement therapy that's fueled his training during camp—or any of his past drug use—and he mentally runs away.
That was the scene at the UFC on FX 8 post-fight presser, where the former UFC champion went back to 1992 and told MMA Junkie's John Morgan to "talk to the hand" before threatening to have him physically assaulted for asking about TRT.
Well, it's safe to say Vitor does not want to talk about testosterone. I was shushed for bringing it up. Sorry. I tried. — John Morgan (@MMAjunkieJohn) May 19, 2013
It's pretty sad to see that's the attitude that Belfort is continuing to adopt this late in the game, especially since the more he wins, the more TRT will cloud his career.
Even UFC president Dana White and Nevada State Athletic Commission executive Keith Kizer have shined a spotlight on the headliner's performance enhancement, with Kizer telling B/R MMA that Belfort would be unlikely to get approved for a bout in Las Vegas, America's fight capital.
Do you care that Belfort is on TRT?
Fortunately for Belfort, that probably suits him just fine.
After counting his winnings and bonus money, he'll simply continue to hide away between Brazil and his training camps with the Florida-based Blackzilians, alongside drug-use suspects like Alistair Overeem, safe from public scrutiny.
That's the mark of someone who's lost touch with reality: an ego inflated by steroids and testosterone shots as much as by dominance in the middleweight division.
Fight Opinion—an MMA outlet consistently ahead of the game on drugs in the sport—outlines "the Vitor Belfort problem" best of all by showing that when it comes to The Phenom, his TRT use has the UFC scrambling to make the best of a bad look:
For those who wanted MMA to be accepted as a mainstream sport, well… the one sport whose drug testing policy most resembles combat sports right now is horse racing. A baseball player gets busted for testosterone and all hell breaks loose. A testosterone user in UFC gets a promotional push.
So, the fighters using testosterone don't want to defend themselves to the press. UFC management policy is supportive of T use but slams usage of marijuana. And the doctors involved in pushing or enabling the testosterone usage don't want to talk and aren't being pressured to talk either in the press or in the court system.
The commissions aren't going to do anything. If anything, the tenuous financial & political nature of these regulatory bodies means they are more prone to allowing testosterone usage in order to get UFC cash.
And, on the Vitor front, Dana White said he would face the winner of Anderson Silva/Chris Weidman… which has prompted Vitor to say that he would like to take a long vacation. Well played. (Emphasis added.)
Any way you look at it, the situation is a bad joke, and the idea of Belfort getting a title shot should be a slap in the face to every clean athlete who's ever competed in the sport and every fan who has ever looked upon MMA with pride.
It's a real shame, especially when the sport has more eyes on it than ever.
Hopefully, the UFC comes to its senses and retracts the plan to match Belfort up with the winner of the Anderson Silva vs. Chris Weidman bout at UFC 162.
Hopefully, athletic commissions make a real effort to ban TRT use with the UFC simultaneously funding blood tests and adopting secondary drug screening to catch those wealthy enough to work their way around the system. (Scaling back marijuana penalties would be great, too.)
And at the very least, Belfort himself might have to start showing at least the barest sense of self-awareness and stop threatening to have MMA reporters beaten up for asking him questions about his new fountain of youth scheme.
Testosterone may give Belfort all the confidence in the world during training and fight week, but that only makes it all the more embarrassing when he can't handle a single mention of the performance enhancing substance outside of the Octagon.
This is an editorial column.