Although he’s tentatively slated to face Chael Sonnen at July 5’s UFC 175 from Las Vegas, No. 3-ranked UFC middleweight Vitor “The Phenom” Belfort always has a bit of doubt surrounding his ability to fight in the United States.
That black cloud undoubtedly arose from his well-documented use of testosterone-replacement therapy (TRT), the controversial treatment that was banned by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) and UFC in late February.
While many, including UFC announcer Joe Rogan, speculated that TRT was banned because Belfort had failed an NSAC-mandated drug test heading into his proposed UFC 173 headliner against champion Chris Weidman, nothing had been confirmed on that front.
Belfort, in an effort to be proactive, has just released a photo to his Instagram account admitting that he did test positive for elevated levels of testosterone on February 7, 2014:
Now, Belfort fell under intense scrutiny, basically becoming the poster boy for all things bad about TRT after finishing Michael Bisping, Luke Rockhold, and Dan Henderson with head kick knockouts in 2013.
But “The Phenom” also said he did everything by the book, even going as far as to have his blood tested to make sure he was well within the allowed range. Well, it looks like he was bending the truth a bit there, as his failure is what most likely prompted the NSAC to ban TRT outright.
His use of the therapy has always been questioned because he was caught using anabolic steroids while fighting under the Pride banner in 2006. His detractors believe that while his body may not produce enough of the hormone naturally, that is only because of past abuse of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs).
Despite that, the UFC was quick to offer their support for ‘The Phenom’ in an official statement:
“The UFC organization supports Vitor Belfort’s application for a license to compete in Nevada, and we respect the Nevada Athletic Commission and its licensing process. Pending Commission approval, we look forward to a great fight between Vitor Belfort and Chael Sonnen at UFC 175 on July 5.”
What will the Commission decide in 10 days? Will Belfort ever get his long-awaited title shot?
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