The recent resurgence and dominance by UFC light heavyweight Vitor Belfort have led many to question the Brazilian fighter’s use of TRT (testosterone replacement therapy), which has been a controversial topic in MMA circles.
Fighters who have been prescribed testosterone replacement therapy by a doctor can apply for therapeutic use exemptions from fight commissions. Both Belfort and 43-year-old Dan Henderson, whom Belfort beat last weekend, received TRT exemptions from Brazil’s fight commission for their bout. Belfort won the fight by a first-round head kick. It was his third consecutive win, third consecutive win by head kick, and third consecutive Knockout of the Night. Another thing all three of those fights have in common? They all took place in Brazil.
Some have speculated that Belfort is fighting in Brazil not just because of his popularity in his home country, but also because he’ll get a TRT exemption there, whereas he might not receive one from from the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Keep in mind that Belfort was fined and suspended nine months after testing positive for elevated levels of testosterone following his 2006 fight with Hendo.
Someone raised the possibility to Dana White that Belfort would have trouble being approved for a TRT exemption in the US.
“That’s not true, that’s completely not true,” White said after Saturday’s fight. “There’s no reason why Vitor Belfort can’t fight in Las Vegas or anywhere else in the United States. Vitor Belfort has not been abusing TRT. In a million f—ing years I would never let that happen … ever.”
White said he would call B.S. on Nevada if they prevented Belfort from receiving an exemption and look back at all the other instances where Nevada approved fighters with questionable pasts.
This TRT usage is a major issue in MMA whether White wants to admit it or not. It’s allowing old fighters, who likely abused steroids in the past (which would cause the drop in their testosterone levels), to drink from the fountain of youth. For the most part, it doesn’t seem very fair, regardless of what White says.
Glove touch to MMA Mania