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Fight fans have always loved a dramatic finish. It is the ultimate resolution when it is done right, and in 2013, Vitor Belfort did it right three times, stopping Michael Bisping, Luke Rockhold and Dan Henderson via KO/TKO.
But it wasn’t so much how he finished the fights that now poses a problem, but the means by which he equipped himself to do so. All three of his bouts happened in Brazil, and for each one, he was using TRT (testosterone replacement therapy). In fact, he says he’s been using it for three years, per MMAJunkie.com.
Thanks to his success, Belfort is now slated to face reigning middleweight champion Chris Weidman in a title bout that will also bring the controversy of TRT front and center.
With all the negative association tied to TRT, a Belfort victory may end up tainting the title, no matter where the fight is held. Some will say the Brazilian had an unfair advantage in working his way up the ladder, even if he is cleared by the NSAC and tests within the limits of exception.
While his victories in 2013 were exciting and ferocious, as long as he is using TRT, questions will linger, no matter how loudly Dana White claims that Belfort’s TRT use isn’t a problem because it’s not abuse.
None of this is to point a finger at Belfort for the end of crying foul. But no matter how legitimate or honest, TRT exceptions in the combative sports have been abused in the past.
Now, they are seen by most as just another chemical advantage for pro athletes, who believe that the ends justify the means. It’s a debate that could possibly explode if Belfort wins the title.