UFC middleweight contender Vitor Belfort appeared before the Nevada Athletic Commission on Wednesday seeking a license to fight. The commission unanimously voted to grant Belfort a license under three conditions: 1) He will not fight prior to December, 2) His fight would be in Las Vegas, and 3) He make himself available for any and all drug testing at his expense.
While Belfort doesn’t have a signed bout agreement at the moment, his lawyer, Michael Alonzo, said his client has a verbal agreement to face champion Chris Weidman on Dec. 6 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.
Belfort was scheduled to face Weidman at UFC 173 on May 24 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, but withdrew from the bout citing not enough time to safely get off of TRT after the commission banned its use in February. He was administered a random drug test on Feb. 7 by the Nevada commission and returned elevated levels of testosterone.
“I want to briefly address questions concerning the test I took on Feb. 7, 2014 that was requested by the commission. At the time that test was taken, I was considering filing for a TUE (therapeutic use exemption) from the commission,” read Belfort from a prepared statement.
“While I had not made a formal application for a TUE, the commission requested that I take a test and I fully cooperated and took the test. I confirmed to the commission in writing the widely known fact that I was on TRT and had been for many years leading up to that test and that I had further taken the TRT dose recommended by the doctors the day prior to the test. My levels of testosterone were above the allowed amount, but my doctor explained to me that it was related to the fact that I had taken the recommended TRT treatment the day prior to the test,” continued the 35-year-old.
“In late February, the commission banned all TRT. I stopped my TRT treatment the very same day. Since the Feb. 7, 2014 test, I have taken many subsequent tests. Those test results have all been provided to the commission. As you know, the result of each test indicate my levels were either normal or below normal,” he added. “My priority is to have a championship fight in December in Las Vegas, in December of this year. So I would not expect to fight anywhere in Nevada or outside of Nevada before December. And I also would like to say that I want the commission to know that I welcome additional testing.”
Belfort went on to explain that he typically received two shots a week as part of his TRT regiment. In February, due to traveling to the U.S., Belfort took his weekly doses in one shot.
“He took one shot instead of two, so it was a bigger shot,” explained Alonzo.
“From the research that I did, I spent hours and hours and hours trying to understand TRT and TUEs and the ratios of testosterone vs. epitestosterone, blood tests vs. urine tests – I went through a lot of that,” said commissioner Anthony Marnell. “With all the research I did do, I believe him.”
While Marnell believed Belfort’s explanation for the failed Feb. 7 test, he made it clear that the middleweight contender will be rigorously tested from this point forward.
“We’re going to drug test you until the day you retire,” said Marnell.
Prior to the commission voting unanimously to grant Belfort a license to fight in Nevada and clearing the way for a December title fight against Weidman, commissioner Skip Avansino explained the advanced testing Belfort can expect in the future.
“Between now and December, when you fight here first in Nevada, I would expect any of the commissioners to have the power to order a test on you. I would expect the chairman to randomly select dates for testing as guided by his physicians,” said Avansino. “It also means that if you’re in Brazil, or Florida, or anywhere else, anywhere you may be training, is that you make every effort to comply. We wouldn’t want you to be somewhere where that couldn’t be accomplished easily.”
“I’m fully cooperating with you guys. Whatever you ask will be done,” Belfort assured the commission.
Immediately following Belfort’s approval, the Ultimate Fighting Champion issued a press release confirming that Weidman vs. Belfort would headline UFC 181 on Dec. 6 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.