The next challenger for Chris Weidman's middleweight championship is Vitor Belfort, who fought three times last year, winning each by KO, via head kick. Bout will likely be in May.
However, as UFC president Dana White says "the one thing that’s guaranteed every day when I wake up is that bad s--- happens, and I have to deal with it." The bad s--- in this case is Belfort's use of Testosterone Replacement Therapy. One potential cause of low testosterone is prior abuse of steroids, and Belfort tested positive in Las Vegas in 2006. Thus the Nevada State Athletic Commission has expressed reservations about licensing Belfort, and the UFC intends to hold the fight in Vegas.
Belfort has been granted Therapeutic Use Exemptions for TRT by other commissions, but Nevada is particularly careful in this regard.
Belfort expressed confidence that he would be licensed/
"I'm able to fight anywhere," said Belfort. "I have done everything by the book. Everybody knows that people cheat, but I don't. I'm very open and very loyal to my principles."
Chris Weidman's head trainer Ray Longo took a contrary stance in an interview with ESPN.com last week.
"I know Chris is beating the guy but why give him an advantage?" Longo said. "Why does he deserve that? All he did was abuse his body with steroids so that now he needs the exemption. It's bulls---."
In an interview with Stephie Daniels, Mchael Bisping expressed similar reservations, but added that even if Belfort is denied a TUE, he will still have the benefit of training for years while using TRT. "The Count" was one of the three losers via headkick to Belfort last year, and thus the issue is personal.
I don't really know what the commission bases those exemptions on, so I don't know if that previous positive test precludes a TUE forever, or if there's a certain time period that may have passed. I don't have those details, but I'm sure he's definitely going to try to get that exemption. You just can't deny the fact that he's been massively successful since he's been on TRT. If he wants to maintain that success, I'm sure he'll apply for an exemption certificate.
I'm sure he'll do everything by the book. It has to be for the UFC. Will he get one? I don't know. I'm not Keith Kizer. I will be watching very closely, to see how this whole thing unfolds. Will it affect him? Definitely. He hasn't fought outside of Brazil for a while now.
The thing is, coming off TRT for one fight isn't really going to make that much of a difference, because he's still going to have that excess muscle mass. He'll still be able to have that to his benefit, and those elevated levels early on in his training camp. Coming off it for one fight isn't going to kill that, especially if he eats right and trains hard. It's a bit of an unfair advantage.
I still want to fight him again, but I want to fight him clean, and long enough for the testosterone levels to come down to normal or what they should be for a man his age. I would imagine that takes about six months to a year, but again, I'm not a physician, so I don't know the exact details of all that.
If the NSAC says he can't have the exemption, they need to get him tested right now, and test him repeatedly, the same way they did with Barnett and Browne, all the way up to fight night. If they don't do that, and just test him the day of the fight, he'll just use the stuff up until three or four weeks before the fight, and then stop to get his levels down again. For Chris Weidman, who is a clean fighter, to have to come in against a guy with an unfair advantage, that's just not right.
Read entire interview...
Related MMA gear from the UG Store