UFC president: Vitor Belfort fights in Brazil due to Globo, not TRT
According to UFC President Dana White, the biggest reason Vitor Belfort keeps fighting in Brazil is TV network Globo – not because of his testosterone-replacement therapy.
"(If) they have a big fight that's going to be on Globo, they wanted Vitor," White told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com
) following Wednesday's UFC Fight Night 27 event in Indianapolis. "So if they want Vitor, they're going to get Vitor. Whoever they say they want, I'm going to try to make it happen."
White said the Brazilian channel is so important to the UFC that the organization once delayed a Lyoto Machida fight nearly 20 minutes on fight night. Why? So the bout would air at the precise minute Globo wanted it to.
"The second most important media (outlet) that we're in business with is Globo," he said.
"Obviously, we're not in a Chuck Liddell situation here where it's like, 'This guy is my best friend. Whatever Chuck wants, we're going to do,'" White said. " ... Vitor Belfort is not cheating. Vitor Belfort is not not being tested."
For UFC events in Brazil, that job is done by regulators with the Comissao Atletica Brasileira de MMA (CABMMA), which is a member of the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation. UFC Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner, who is a former executive director for the Nevada State Athletic Commission, chairs the IMMAF's technical committee.
White said the UFC would never jeopardize its standing as MMA's industry leader to give any fighter a license to skirt the rules.
"Vitor Belfort is not fighting in Brazil because he can get away with something down there," White said. "That's ridiculous. First of all, we wouldn't do that for anybody. Anybody. We would never put together a situation where a fighter has an advantage over another fighter.
"There's all these other things that come into play, like, you've got to fight Vitor Belfort in Brazil. Those are the only type of advantages a guy will get. Plus, Vitor doesn't live in Brazil. Vitor lives in Florida. You realize that, right? Why isn't he fighting in Nevada? He was going to fight in Nevada. I think in the last scrum I told you that. They want him in Brazil, so that's where he's going to fight.
"Vitor Belfort is being tested, and Vitor is within the limits of what he's supposed to be when he fights. To call us shady – especially a guy like Kevin Iole, and I've never said this publicly before, but Kevin Iole is a guy from Vegas who we've known for a long time from the boxing days or whatever, and when all that s--t went down with Randy Couture, when he was f---ing lying about how much he made, I literally called Kevin and said, 'C'mon down here right now. You can go through every f---ing contract and look through all the papers and you can find out who's f---ing lying and who's telling the truth.' And he did.
"So we've always been upfront. You think we would lie about that and risk the credibility of the sport, the UFC as a brand, so that Vitor Belfort could fight in f---ing Brazil and cheat? So we're going to flip this whole f---ing thing upside down for Vitor Belfort, my best friend? It just makes no sense."