Much has been speculated about the next fight for current surging Middleweight contender Vitor “The Phenom” Belfort. While the Brazilian sensation has been annoying UFC president Dana White by constantly calling out almost every big-name fighter who wins, one man did accept his challenge. That man is Chael Sonnen, who has newfound momentum after submitting the dangerous Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC Fight Night 26 last Saturday.
However, there’s supposedly a lot of red tape to be cleared before that bout can happen outside the confines of Brazil. Belfort’s recent use of TRT has been well documented and his past drug test failure for anabolic steroids in Las Vegas has had his ability to fight in a big U.S.-based pay-per-view in question. According to White, that may not exactly be the case:
"They say Vitor can't fight here and that is complete bulls***. Vitor Belfort can fight here, he can fight in Vegas or any of these places. It's not a given that he has to give up the treatment when he's in Vegas. The guy has been busted before. He's had some issues and he's going to have to go before the athletic commission and they would decide what they are going to do. That doesn't mean that he can't fight in Vegas or that Vitor Belfort is banned from Vegas and something crazy is going to happen. Or that we're hiding him in Brazil because he's on TRT. That is stupid Internet s***. Vitor Belfort is a big draw in Brazil so he fights in Brazil."
There’s no doubt that Belfort is a huge draw in his home country of Brazil, but many have speculated that he fights there so often due to perceived licensing issues and controversy stemming from TRT and other PEDs. Adding fuel to the fire, NSAC (Nevada State Athletic Commission) commissioner Keith Kizer has stated in the past that Belfort would not receive a license to fight were he to apply for one in Las Vegas.
Many fans attribute Belfort’s current run of shocking success largely to TRT. The 36-year-old “Phenom” has destroyed both Michael Bisping and Luke Rockhold with viciously effective headkicks this year. Now, after many rumors, he sow being matched up with Chael Sonnen, although nothing is close to being confirmed as of yet.
Sonnen was busted himself for elevated testosterone after his epic UFC 117 against Anderson Silva. He came clean, served a six-month suspension, notified the commissions of any future use, and got a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) to do so.
It’s hard to imagine the NSAC doing the same for Belfort should he choose to file for a TUE in the state of Nevada. A potentially huge bout with “The American Gangster” could be on the line, but will Belfort risk not having his valuable therapy to make the trip to the States? Only time will tell.