Dana White Rooting Against Vitor Belfort TUE, Supports Ban on TRT in MMA

Steven RondinaFeatured ColumnistJanuary 27, 2014

Vitor Belfort, from Brazil, celebrates after defeating Michael Bisping, from Britain during their  middleweight mixed martial arts bout at the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)
Andre Penner/Associated Press

UFC President Dana White once again has people scratching their head with his ever-shifting stance on testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). This time? It's in relation to the upcoming middleweight title fight between Chris Weidman and Vitor Belfort.

ESPN broke the news that Dana White is apparently hoping Belfort's bid for a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) for TRT with the Nevada State Athletic Commission will fail. White let this slip during a discussion on his approval of the Association of Ringside Physicians' call for the removal of TRT from combat sports.

For those who haven't been keeping up on the story, TRT is a treatment that allows people to artificially increase their testosterone levels using anabolic steroids. While it is an otherwise legitimate medical procedure for aging men, in the context of sports, it functionally enables athletes to legally use performance-enhancing drugs. Vitor Belfort is one of the numerous fighters using TRT, and is widely criticized for being allowed to use the treatment in spite of his history of PED abuse.

Belfort's looming title shot, his use of TRT, and his ballooning physique since he started using has become a huge topic, and many have wondered aloud if the Nevada State Athletic Commission would be willing to grant a TUE (former NSAC leader Keith Kizer previously hinted that this was unlikely, but also recently stepped down from his seat).

Throughout 2012 and 2013, White repeatedly flip-flopped when it came to his stance on TRT and its place in MMA. Regardless of White's words or fleeting stance on the hot-button issue, the fact of the matter is the UFC actively recommends fighters to doctors who will prescribe TRT, allows fighters to use TRT on cards they themselves sanction (including past steroid users like Belfort and Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva) and, obviously, give title shots to fighters using TRT.

It will be interesting to see how long White maintains this position. It will also be interesting to see whether or not the UFC actually takes any sort of action against TRT in the coming months.