UFC 173 middleweight title challenger Vitor Belfort has experienced a resurgence in his storied career; ‘The Phenom’ took out three key players in MMA through 2013, and landed himself in a title showdown with current champ Chris Weidman. As is often the case with Belfort, the talk has turned to his TRT use.
It was revealed today that the Nevada State Athletic Commission will be reviewing their policies on the use of the controversial treatment, but more specifically in the case of Belfort. The Brazilian KO artist has been unable to compete in Nevada since his 2011 win against Yoshihiro Akiyama, forcing him to fight in Canada and Brazil in the meantime.
Check out what NSAC chairman Francisco Aguilar said about Belfort’s TUE application to ESPN recently:
"It's the commission's need and desire to get clarity on the issue before we go into a situation where we have to make a decision immediately, It's not fair to have that discussion while someone is in front of you. It's important to have a basis of where you find yourself as a commissioner prior to that -- having all the information you need from the experts," Aguilar said.
Reading between the lines, it seems there is a pretty good chance that Belfort will be on TRT for his bout against Weidman. The therapy has grown ten fold in recent MMA times, and looks like it may eventually just become a normal part of the landscape.
Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson recently spoke about how all fighters are good on steroids unless they ‘go Chris Benoit’, and it looks like Dana White’s war on TUEs is a losing one. The UFC president recently announced his support for the ARP’s move to ban the treatment in combat sports, but the Athletic Commissions will have the final say.
"My initial questions are broad, obviously concerning the purpose of TRT and TUEs," Aguilar said. "Once we understand the purpose and the intent, we can drill deeper into the follow-up questions, such as when you can determine they are necessary. It's always important to have a medical perspective."
If the commission approves Belfort’s case, it may well open the floodgates to all pro fighters trying to add themselves to the medical list. As the sport explodes on to the worldwide scene, so does its flaws and grey areas. We’ll just have to wait until the February 27 hearing in Las Vegas, Nevada, and see what the outcome is.
It may not answer all these questions immediately, but it will give us an idea of which way the sport is heading now.