UFC veteran Vitor Belfort made his professional fighting debut at the age of 19 in October 1996. Before turning 20, he won the UFC 12 Heavyweight Tournament with knockouts of Tra Telligman and Scott Ferrozzo.
Now 36 years old, Belfort remains a two-division contender. He’s logged three head-kick knockouts in a row, but his use of TRT has some questioning the legitimacy of his recent wins.
“Dan and Vitor were both on TRT,” added White.
In February the UFC initiated a new policy toward TRT users, and decided to take testing into their own hands.
“We’re regulated by the government. Testosterone replacement therapy is legal. Well, I think we should test guys all the way up until their fight to make sure that the entire training camp their limits are where they’re supposed to be, they’re at the legal limits their whole camp,” said White at the time. “These guys that get exemptions for TRT, we’re going to make sure we test you through your entire camp.”
Belfort’s situation is a littler more complicated than an athlete using TRT. He has a prior positive test for a banned substance in 2006. In an interview with Bleacher Report in March, Executive Director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission Keith Kizer said Belfort would have difficulty getting the therapeutic exemption to use TRT in Nevada due to the previous positive test.
“I don’t see Vitor Belfort getting a TRT exemption from us,” said Kizer.
Belfort’s last three fights have been in Brazil where he has been granted a therapeutic exemption to use TRT. He hasn’t fought in the U.S. since August 2011. The last time he competed in Nevada was February 2011.
Some have questioned whether Belfort will ever fight outside of Brazil again. But in August, White explained that Belfort’s recent string of fights in his home country has nothing to do with TRT. He fights there because he’s a big draw and the television networks requested that Belfort headline a fight card in Brazil.
Although Belfort’s last five fights have been outside of the U.S., there’s nothing preventing him from competing anywhere.
“There’s no reason why Vitor Belfort can’t fight in Las Vegas, or anywhere else in the United States,” said the UFC president.
With the first-round knockout of Henderson, Belfort finds himself next in line for a middleweight title shot against the winner of Chris Weidman and Anderson Silva. And while there’s nothing preventing him from fighting anywhere in the world, whether he’ll be granted an exemption to use TRT may be determined by where the title fight takes place.