UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman is set to stand the second defense of his 185 pound title, when he takes on number two ranked division challenger, Vitor Belfort, this coming spring; event and location as yet to be determined.
Going into the match Weidman and his camp, most particularly his striking coach Ray Longo, have been fairly vocal regarding how they feel about Belfort’s testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) use, and none of it has been positive; no pun intended.
To the point, Weidman and crew are more than happy to take the fight, but would prefer to have Belfort fight ‘clean’, which is to say, without his therapeutic testosterone use exemption (TUE).
As it turns out, Weidman may well get his wish. However and like all things, sometimes you have to be leery of getting what you ask for and in this case, Weidman seems to be aware of that fact.
In speaking with SiriusXM Radio this past Monday, Weidman stated that he and his camp had been concerned that he’d have to fight Belfort in his TRT friendly home of Brazil and subsequent to that, have to give ‘The Phenom’ carte blanche to make use of his TUE. However and as Weidman later found out, the UFC intends to stage the fight in the non-TRT friendly confines of Las Vegas, with the net result being that Belfort, who is on the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s (NSAC) TRT watch list, won’t, in all likelihood, be able to get a TU exemption from the commission; license, yes; TUE, no. Subsequent to that, Weidman began to think that he’d have a ‘clean’ fight on his hands.
However and regardless of the fight being in Vegas, Belfort has let it be known that he still plans on applying for a TUE from Nevada’s athletic commission. As such, it raises an interesting question for Weidman and one that has been pointed out to him.
With a TUE Belfort will be monitored by the state. Without it, and is standard practice, Belfort will only be subject to the standard pre and post-fight drug tests. Subsequent to that and his passing of those tests, he’s free to do what he wishes prior to the fight; so long as he’s not caught. Resultantly, Weidman appears to be debating as to whether or not a TUE would be the better way to go (at least Belfort would be monitored) or even, possibly, that Belfort might be playing some kind of game on the subject.
That said, it seems as though part of Weidman’s decision making process on this issue is predicated on the belief that if NSAC will proactively be testing Belfort, TUE or no TUE, and above and beyond the standard pre and post-fight tests.
As Weidman commented regarding all of it:
"I don't know how it works. I just asked Lorenzo (Fertitta) yesterday in Chicago ... and he said that he (Belfort) is going to try to get the TRT. But whether he gets it or not, I was happy to hear that we will be tested and stuff like that. He (Fertitta) would be surprised to see that we didn't get tested throughout the camp.
Because what I heard is, someone else told me that if he doesn't apply for the TRT, because I heard that he wasn't going to apply at first, if he doesn't apply, then he doesn't get tested during the camp and stuff like that. So, then he would be able to take whatever he wants and cycle off like these other guys do. If he gets the TRT then he has to get tested all the time. So, I was like ‘I wonder where he is going with this.' So I don't know, I’m just happy to hear, that I think, because he’s failed a drug test before that he will get tested."
Of course, Belfort’s supporters will be quick to jump to their feet and declare that the Phenom has been above board about his TRT use and that his application of the therapy, his ‘T-levels’, are constantly monitored. As such, Belfort is not only being monitored, but more importantly, he’s not afraid to be monitored.
Further, his fans will point to the fact that other fighters are one TRT and receiving licenses; either in Las Vegas or other states. As such, there seems to be no consistency in terms of who is and isn’t considered an offender.
Further still, they will point to the fact the Belfort’s past PED failure was back in 2006 and is subsequently ancient history, and something that he’s already paid for.
As to what to make of it all, fans are sure to be in partisan corners on both sides and without much middle ground to be shared. Weidman is deserving of a level playing field and a clean fight, to be sure. However, Belfort has been up front about his use, monitored and within limits; all with the UFC's knowledge; no foul, there.
Considering all of it, hardcore Weidman fans might just say ‘who cares what Belfort is on, Weidman will beat him, anyway.’
To that they might have something. Weidman is the man that beat Anderson Silva twice and Silva blew Belfort out of the water. As this is the case, Weidman stands an excellent chance of retaining his belt in a fight with Vitor Belfort and regardless of any TRT use by the Phenom.
The entirety of the Champ's remarks are below: