While some fans and pundits believe Vitor Belfort’s memorable career has been tainted by controversies regarding testosterone-replacement-therapy, “The Phenom” disagrees.
When fighters were allowed to use TRT, Belfort always took a lot of heat over it, due to the fact he tested positive for PEDs earlier in the career, and tested for elevated testosterone in 2014. Some also questioned whether Belfort’s use of the controversial therapy was being effectively monitored, during a run that saw him take out the likes of Luke Rockhold, Dan Henderson and Michael Bisping.
The questions seemed to die down a fair bit, but more recently it was reported Belfort’s testosterone levels were also high prior to UFC 152, when he faced Jon Jones. So, of course, Belfort is fielding questions about TRT all over again.
Case in point, while speaking to the media on Thursday in advance of Saturday’s fight with Henderson, the Brazilian star was asked if all this has tarnished his legacy. Here is some of what Belfort had to say (quotes via MMA Fighting.com):
“No way,” said Belfort. “It tarnishes one’s reputation when you hide things, but when you don’t have anything to hide, people like it. I have nothing to hide, I shared my exams. Some people understand it, others don’t, but it’s a medical condition. I still need the treatment, but I can’t have it, so I keep training and working.
“I don’t think (it damages UFC’s image) too. Like Jesus said, throw the first rock who never did anything wrong. I believe everyone in the world has done something wrong but that’s not a reason to crucify them. People pay for their mistakes. An organization can’t lose value because of some cases, and neither can an athlete. Everyone makes mistakes.”
While Belfort fans likely agree with him on this, there’s no question that many people don’t view the feared striker in the same manner any more. Yes, even if there’s no doubt that Belfort is one of the most accomplished fighters the sport has ever known.
Perhaps if Belfort goes on to score a few more, highlight reel finishes over some big names, some of his critics will be silenced?
UFC Fight Night 77 will take place on November 7th in Sao Paulo, Brazil.