UFC President Dana White has come out against testosterone-replacement therapy and knows fighters are getting an unfair advantage with it. But he believes one user, middleweight contender Vitor Belfort, has gotten a bum rap.
"I think Vitor has been unjustly beat down for the TRT thing," White said. "You guys know how I feel about TRT. But he's done everything the right way and been within the limits he's supposed to be in."
Belfort's TRT use became a central topic before and after his UFC on FX 8 headliner. Fighting in Brazil for the third time in four fights, Belfort moved to 3-0 in his home country after a vicious first-round knockout of former Strikeforce Luke Rockhold at the May 18 event.
While numerous other UFC fighters – UFC 161 headliner Dan Henderson, Chael Sonnen, Frank Mir and Forrest Griffin, among others – have used TRT to raise low testosterone levels, Belfort has taken much of the heat. Part of the reason is that Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director Keith Kizer has said Belfort would be unlikely to get a therapeutic-use exemption for TRT in the state, primarily because he failed a steroid test in 2006. (Past steroid use can contribute to low testosterone levels.)
That's led to speculation that Belfort has been fighting in Brazil primarily because the country's regulatory body, Comissao Atletica Brasileira de MMA (CABMMA), does grant him a TUE. White, though, insists that's the not the case.
"He will end up fighting in the States," White said. "He's been fighting in Brazil because he does well in Brazil. There's no conspiracy.
"First of all, have we ever done anything slimy, seriously, in 13 years? Like, 'Let's keep him in Brazil so nobody (tests him).' I f---ing hate unfair people who cheat, putting guys in a position where they're at a disadvantage. I hate that stuff. I want fights to happen evenly and for the best guy to win, and that's why I was so pissed off about the TRT thing because I felt like people were cheating. People are getting jacked up during their training. One guy's fighting on his natural abilities, the other guy's getting jacked up, he recovers faster in training camp than the guy who's natural, and then he gets his levels back down before the fight. That's what was pissing me off."
As MMAjunkie.com (UFC blog for UFC news, UFC rumors, fighter interviews and event previews/recaps
) recently reported, Belfort underwent the usual pre-fight urine test, as well as post-fight urine and blood tests, for his UFC on FX 8 fight. Additionally, he told MMAjunkie.com reporter John Morgan he had additional tests conducted at his own expense.
"For the fight with Rockhold, I did seven blood tests," Belfort said. "I did one every week. I have records of all of them. Some of the results are even lower than they should be, and the doctor said, 'You should probably increase,' and I said, 'No, I don't want to get to a level that's bad for me.'
"I just want people to know that I have a conscience, and I wanted to have something, a record, that for the rest of my life people can know I was doing something right. I don't ever want to cheat."
Belfort (23-10 MMA, 12-6 UFC) is now 4-1 in his past five fights, and the lone defeat came after his move from middleweight to light heavyweight for a late-notice challenge against champ Jon Jones. With the return to 185 pounds and back-to-back "Knockout of the Night" wins over Michael Bisping and Rockhold, he's inching closer to a rematch with middleweight titleholder Anderson Silva.
And if it happens, White insists it'll be a fair fight.
"I would never, and Lorenzo (Fertitta) would never put a guy down in Brazil because we think he'll pass down there and won't pass somewhere else," he said. "And the guys that regulate Brazil are the same f---ing guys who pulled (Alexander) Gustafsson out of the fight (at UFC on FUEL TV 9) for the cut. Same guys. And it's not like I was a big fan of their decision in (Sweden). So it's not like they're doing me any favors or we have some yahoo buddy-buddy relationship."