Amidst many rumors that Vitor Belfort failed the drug test for UFC on FX 7, Zuffa was quick to respond that while one fighter’s sample had come back irregular, it was indeed not Belfort’s. They clarified the situation with an official statement (updated; via MMA Mania):
“To dispel rumors that have been circulated, Zuffa wishes to clarify that Vitor Belfort’s drug test results were negative and did not indicate the presence of any performance enhancing drugs. Belfort has been on a medically approved testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) regimen under the supervision of a medical doctor from the State of Nevada, after being diagnosed with hypogonadism, or low testosterone. The purpose of a medically administered TRT regimen is to allow patients with hypogonadism to maintain testosterone levels within a range that is normal for an adult male.”
The fighter that failed the test was found to be Lightweight Thiago Tavares.
However, the story does not end there. The UFC also revealed earlier today that Belfort had been granted a TUE (Therapeutic Use Exemption) for TRT prior to his second round KO of Michael Bisping, although his drug test “did not indicate the presence of any prohibited substance for increasing performance improvement.” Belfort was allowed to use TRT by the Brazilian MMA Athletic Commission (Comissao Atletica Brasileira de MMA), which is part of the new International Mixed Martial Arts Federation.
Now the story has gotten a little strange, but in hindsight, it begins to add up, as Belfort was noted as dancing around any and all questions revolving around TRT. Many thought Belfort looked extremely ripped and muscular for the bout, and his performance was quite impressive considering his standing as a true elder statesman of the sport. Apparently Belfort has hypogonadism, the same condition that prompted Chael Sonnen to use TRT before his first bout with Anderson Silva.
Before last weekend’s UFC 156, Belfort was on hand to address the situation with the following:
“I think people get jealous when a guy at my age is destroying these people getting title shots,” he said. ” … I think when you look good, the tendency of people to judge you and criticize you is bigger because it sells [newspapers]. See, we’re talking about this, but I had a great performance, and we’re spending more time talking about the controversy than my performance.”
Belfort is a great fighter who is doing amazing things at his age. He is also a fighter who was previously caught using PEDs, failing a test for anabolic steroids back in 2006. After recently shrugging off questions of TRT use, one could begin to question his amped-up call out of Jon Jones after beating Bisping. Belfort is no doubt fighting at a high level, but once again, is that because of hard work, or is it because of TRT? Should he be derided for avoiding the topic and shifting the focus of conversation, or should he just be added to the list of fighters who use TRT to gain an advantage?