Early this year Vitor Belfort finally got the title shot he had long campaigned for vs. UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman. However, "The Phenom" was administered a surprise, out-of-competition test by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Shortly thereafter he declined to apply for a license, citing the new policy banning Testosterone Replacement Therapy.
The title shot went instead to Lyoto Machida. The fight was delayed due to surgery Weidman needed, and will finally take place at UFC 175 on July 5.
The results of the medical test are known to Belfort, to the UFC, and of course to the NSAC, but no party has ever said what was found. Until Belfort applies for a license to fight, they will remain private.
Belfort's attorney has said that the fighter was at the time of the test receiving TRT under the care of an MD. However, NSAC guidelines require that a fighter who applies for a Therapeutic Use Exemption for TRT not be doing it at the time.
UFC president Dana White said unequivocally last month that Belfort needs to get his NSAC licensing issues fixed.
"He's gotta solve his problems with the Nevada State Athletic Commission and when he does that, we'll figure it out," said White. "He's got a lot of work to do."
Guilherme Cruz spoke Dr. Marcio Tannure, medical director for Brazil's MMA athletic commission, the Comissao Atletica Brasileira de MMA (CABMMA). Dr. Tannure said Belfort can apply for a license normally.
"He can fight here, no problem, but he can’t use TRT," Dr. Marcio Tannure told MMAFighting.com. "Since he doesn’t have a license to use TRT anymore, he would be tested like any other fighter."
"As far as license with (CABMMA), he would be able to fight no problem. He would be tested like any other fighter. If he failed any test, he would be suspended like any other regular fighter."
"Every commission has its standard. I don’t know which test he did and what was the result, so I can’t talk about it and which criteria they’re considering in his case."
"Every time a fighter that tested positive in the past applies for a license in Nevada is tested again, and we will adopt that here as well. This is an interesting criteria, and we will also do it, but he never tested positive here."
While lower tier fighters can commission shop, and apply for a license to fight in one jurisdiction, knowing that they could not get licensed in another, the UFC has a strict policy against the practice.
In order for Vitor Belfort to fight, he is going to have to deal with the problems that remain in Nevada, regardless of what other commissions might license him.