Well, he has finally done it: Vitor Belfort has managed to get himself licensed by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
And thus, once again, we are all reminded of the ugly scandal that got us here: TRT (testosterone replacement therapy). We’re reminded of Chael Sonnen‘s drug test failures, retirement and the implosion of his bout with Wanderlei Silva (later changed to Belfort himself) at UFC 175, Dan Henderson — generally an MMA good guy — being on the treatment, Ben Rothwell failing a test while on it and Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva being over the T/E limit at his otherwise fantastic fight with Mark Hunt.
The list goes on and on. And it’s frankly embarrassing that the practice wasn’t cracked down on sooner.
Yet Belfort, poster boy for all that was wrong with TRT, has come out of this with yet another chance. He was on the treatment despite a past drug test failure, and certain performance enhancing drugs are known to have side effects including reducing the body’s natural ability to produce testosterone, which would result in the low T levels that TRT is used to treat. He looked shockingly good while on TRT, knocking out Henderson, Luke Rockhold and Michael Bisping.
Now he’ll finally get his long-awaited shot at middleweight champion Chris Weidman. Yes, he will have to provide blood and urine samples, at his own expense, to the NSAC per the results of the hearing today, which ultimately granted him his fight license in a unanimous decision. Yes, this may be his last chance — another drug test failure would certainly bring his career into question.
Athletic commission member (and M Resort President) Anthony A. Marnell III had the following to say:
“We believe reasonable is drug testing you until the day you retire.”
That is perhaps the MMA understatement of the decade.
Immediately following the decision, the UFC announced that Belfort would face Weidman at UFC 181 on Dec. 6, a date that already has lightweight champion Anthony Pettis meeting Gilbert Melendez. It’s going to be a big card — if Belfort can make it there. How he performs without TRT, well, that’s the next question to be answered. If he fights, fights clean and wins, maybe he can overcome the TRT scandal. Maybe.