When a report surfaced on MMAFighting.com earlier this week where Team Blackzilians manager Glenn Robinson stated that he thought middleweight Vitor Belfort would probably not be applying for a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) for testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) leading up to his upcoming bout with champion Chris Weidman later this year, there was a substantial amount of doubt resonating throughout the MMA community.
After all, many thought TRT played a big part in “The Phenom’s” three amazing headkick knockouts over Michael Bisping, Luke Rockhold, and Dan Henderson in 2013. Belfort has been a staunch proponent of having his blood checked to ensure he is using the therapy exactly by the book, but the fact is there will be always be doubters who cite Belfort’s prior failure for illegal anabolic steroids in the past.
Regardless, while it was rumored that Belfort would forego the therapy for his match with Weidman to silence his doubters, it appears that the exact opposite is true. Ariel Helwani reported on tonight’s edition of “UFC Tonight” that Belfort told him he will not only be getting a TUE for TRT to fight Weidman, but he needs it:
“I spoke to Vitor Belfort yesterday, and he said, ‘That’s not true, I’m on TRT right now. I have to be on TRT.’”
“This raised some red flags when Glenn said this because, you know, doctors have said if you really do need to be on testosterone replacement therapy, you can’t go off and on it. You have to be on it essentially for the rest of your life. When Glenn said this, people started to question it. “
“But Vitor said, ‘no, this has been prescribed to me, I have to take this, it’s medication, and I am planning on applying for a TUE to be on TRT.’”
So it has been confirmed that Belfort will apply for his TUE, and the debate will rage on over the legitimacy of his win streak. He’s appeared to grow stronger with age, something that is rarely seen in high-level combat sports. There’s no doubt that a fight with Weidman will arguably be one of the most anticipated bouts of 2014.
However, it remains to be seen if Belfort will be granted a TUE if his title fight is slated to take place in Nevada as has been rumored. Belfort was busted there before after his first fight with Dan Henderson under the Pride banner. Former NAC executive director Keith Kizer stated that he didn’t see how Belfort would be granted permission to use TRT for a fight in Nevada, but Kizer recently stepped down. It’ll be very interesting to see how that affects the final decision.
Belfort isn’t doing much to silence his critics, but at the end of the day that won’t matter to him if he finally gets the belt around his waist. He’s been on a mission ever since getting knocked out by Anderson Silva in early 2011.
Belfort’s reasons for using TRT may be questionable, but plenty of other fighters like Frank Mir, Chael Sonnen, and Dan Henderson have used the therapy to horrific results in recent bouts.
Do you think TRT is enough to put a black mark on a potential Belfort title run? Or is he just the scapegoat in an era of many TRT users?