Vitor Belfort Fights in Brazil Due to the UFC's TV Partner, Not to Hide TRT Use
For the third time in a row and fourth out of the last five times he's fought, Vitor Belfort will travel back to his home country of Brazil for his next UFC fight.
Belfort is scheduled to headline UFC Fight Night 32 on November 9 when he takes on Dan Henderson in a rematch of a fight the two competitors had under the Pride Fighting Championships banner back in 2006.
Belfort's continued use on Brazilian-only shows has brought both him and the UFC under scrutiny for the perception that he's fighting there only because the Brazilian commission that oversees the fights there allows him to use testosterone replacement therapy (TRT).
Belfort is one of a handful of fighters currently prescribed the treatment, and while it is allowed in the United States as well as long as it's approved by each particular state athletic commission, the former UFC champion has another stain on his record that makes the usage a bit more controversial.
It was after Belfort's first fight with Henderson that he tested positive for anabolic steroids and faced a suspension from the Nevada State Athletic Commission for the infraction. Steroid abuse is a known factor in lower testosterone in men, and while that is the only time Belfort has ever tested positive in his entire career, it does raise the question about his use of TRT now.
It also doesn't help much that back in March, Keith Kizer, the Executive Director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, said that he doesn't see a fighter like Belfort with a past steroid conviction on his record being approved for a TRT exemption in his state.
So with each time the UFC schedules Belfort for a fight in Brazil, the appearance is that they somehow are using him in a country that will allow him to use TRT while shielding him from commissions in the United States that might deny him use of the treatment.
Well, UFC president Dana White is here to tell everybody that the conspiracy theory holds just about as much water as those that would claim the world is flat.
"There is no way in (expletive) hell, I would let Vitor Belfort stay in Brazil if he was cheating down there and that was the reason why he was there," White said. "There is a commission there that oversees what we do down there too. It's not run by us. They come in and they test him. Vitor Belfort is being tested and Vitor Belfort is within the limits of what he's supposed to be when he fights."
"Do you think we would lie about that and risk the credibility of the sport, the UFC as a brand, so that Vitor Belfort could fight in (expletive) Brazil and cheat?"
The reality of the situation, as White explains it, is that the UFC's television partner in Brazil has time and again requested Belfort for the shows that they air in the country. Belfort is a well-known star in Brazil from even the early days of the UFC, and they are the ones who continuously request that he appear there to help boost interest and ratings.
"Vitor doesn't choose where he fights. He tries to pick who he fights, but he doesn't choose where he fights," White said. "We put him (in Brazil). First of all, the second most important media that we're in business with is Globo. Globo is very important."
"They have a big fight that's gonna be on Globo; they wanted (expletive) Vitor. So they want Vitor, they're gonna get Vitor. Whoever they say they want, I'm gonna try to make it happen."
White goes on to explain that they are not in the business to give any fighter an unfair advantage, and would never risk the integrity of the UFC just to allow one fighter to continue to compete in a different area just so he could cheat somehow.
"Vitor Belfort is not cheating. Vitor Belfort is not, not being tested. Vitor Belfort is not fighting in Brazil because he can get away with something down there," White said. "First of all, we wouldn't do that for anybody, anybody. We would never put together a situation where a fighter has an advantage over another fighter."
"They want him in (expletive) Brazil, so that's where he's gonna fight."
Belfort will headline his next card just like the last two that took place in Brazil when he faces Henderson in a light heavyweight bout from Goiania, Brazil in November.
Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and all quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.
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