Vitor Belfort’s controversial use of Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) is in the spotlight again after a recent interview. Belfort utilizes the therapy to combat low testosterone levels. However, the potential to abuse the substance has made it a very divisive sticking point in the fighter’s career.
In the past, Belfort has been extremely reluctant to discuss the treatment, even going as far as asking for a reporter to be beaten up after asking about the TRT at a press event. The fighter later apologized for the remark, and since then, seems to have grown more comfortable opening up about his situation.
In an interview with with Sherdog.com, Belfort expressed his frustration, asking, “Why doesn’t [the athletic commission] do blood work in all the fighters? I was the only guy in history of MMA to be after a fight drawing blood.”
He also responded to the criticisms that the Brazilian Athletic Commission was too lenient with his TRT exemption.
“People talk about the Brazilian Commission,” he said. “[But] the commission here is so much tougher than America’s. Actually they’ve just created something new in women’s fighting, a pregnancy test. The commission here was created and they are much more [restrictive].”
“I always do blood work every week before a fight,” he added. “My levels are always lower than a regular guy. I never go in the limit of the level. So what I try to do is to be fair with my career and against my opponent. The TRT… it’s just something my body cannot produce and I’m doing a treatment with doctors, doing blood work, so everything is pretty black and white, nothing to be crazy about it. A lot of guys out there are doing a lot of stuff and they don’t get caught.”
Belfort concluded by saying that what he is doing is not cheating. “I don’t agree with people who use things to create a performance and cheat away, because I’m not doing anything illegal,” he said.
TRT is currently not illegal in MMA competition, although it is extremely controversial. Fighters can apply for a therapeutic use exemption through a sports commission, with Vitor working with the Brazilian MMA Athletic Commission for his last two fights. Belfort is also not the only fighter to have applied for a TRT exemption. Forrest Griffin, Frank Mir, Dan Henderson, and Chael Sonnen have all applied and been successfully granted exemptions in the past.
However, some believe Belfort’s low testosterone is the result of his steroid use and subsequent suspension in 2006. Steroids have been proven to be a possible factor in lowering someone’s natural production of testosterone, adding more fuel to the controversy.
Belfort himself is currently on a two fight winning streak after his loss to Jon Jones at LHW in 2012. He is now ranked number 3 in the middleweight division, and believes he has earned a title shot against the winner of Weidman vs Silva II. His manager recently stated that Belfort would not return to middleweight for the UFC if his next fight was not for the belt.