Not too long ago, the discussion of Vitor Belfort, his testosterone replacement therapy use, his exclusive fighting in Brazil and the UFC's unrepentant willingness to accommodate him in doing so were the hottest topics in MMA. Eventually, as with most stories of this ilk, everyone stopped talking about it after a while.
Everyone, it seems, except for Tim Kennedy.
Just a couple days before his first-ever main event with the UFC at Fight For the Troops 3, Kennedy took the time to bash Belfort through and through in an interview with Bloody Elbow. "He doesn’t have an exemption because he failed an anabolic steroid test…That’s why he medically needs it…Now he needs TRT and nobody will give him that exemption because he used steroids."
Kennedy first started having words with Belfort last Friday, sending out a direct jab on Twitter towards the former light heavyweight champ.
I have decided to stop using TRT for my title shot... Oh wait.... Never mind. I never cheated in the first place.— Tim Kennedy (@TimKennedyMMA) November 1, 2013
While discussing why he sent the message, he had even harsher words, saying, "It’s embarrassing to be part of the sport and have athletes that are manipulating the system like that. … This is obviously a spit in the face of every martial artist out there." The tweet in question got wide support from other UFC fighters such as Bubba McDaniel and Colton Smith.
Kennedy is widely regarded as one of the "good guys" of MMA. An army veteran who served in the Iraq War, Kennedy has quickly become a fan favorite for his wacky persona and usually-goofy Twitter account.
Belfort, meanwhile, has become a serious heel of late.
He was popped for using anabolic steroids in 2006 at Pride 32 and offering numerous explanations as to why that was the case. The year prior, he had primarily fought outside the United States and away from regular drug testing. Over the last year, it has come out that Belfort has been receiving therapeutic use exemptions for TRT, which many speculate is required entirely because of his past steroid use.
Over the last year, Belfort has absolutely ballooned in size. In addition to this, Belfort has fought exclusively in Brazil since 2011, allowing him to completely avoid American athletic commissions (it is worth noting NSAC head Keith Kizer said his TRT use likely wouldn't be allowed stateside), enabling him to use TRT freely. While Dana White boasted and promised of a crackdown on TRT use earlier this year, he seems more than content to sit back and enjoy Belfort's renewed drawing power and popularity abroad.