Vitor Belfort will plan for his next fight in Las Vegas later this year as he challenges Chris Weidman for the UFC middleweight title, but first he will have to make a stop at the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
Despite earlier reports that Belfort wasn’t planning on applying for a therapeutic use exemption through the commission to allow him to use testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), the Brazilian fighter tells UFC Tonight’s Ariel Helwani that he will indeed ask for permission to use the controversial treatment ahead of his next fight.
Belfort has been on TRT for the last few years amidst a career resurgence for the veteran fighter. In 2013, Belfort went on a blistering 3-0 streak with knockouts over Michael Bisping, Luke Rockhold and Dan Henderson.
Controversy has followed Belfort’s recent success, however, because of his use of TRT following a positive test for anabolic steroids in 2006. Low testosterone in men can be caused by abuse of performance enhancing drugs, and while Belfort has never tested positive since the 2006 test, he’s faced scrutiny for his choice to use the treatment given his past history.
The ball will now sit in the court of the Nevada State Athletic Commission whenever the fight gets scheduled as they will ultimately provide the ruling on whether or not Belfort will be allowed to use TRT while fighting under their jurisdiction.
Former Nevada commission executive director Keith Kizer said in 2013 that he didn’t see a way Belfort could be granted an exemption from them given the fact that he had a positive steroid test in 2006 while also fighting in Las Vegas. Belfort also spurned the commission’s ruling and ended up taking a fight in England where this is no governing body to disallow him from competing.
Belfort’s fate may change now, however, because Kizer is finishing up his tenure as executive director and the commission expects to name a successor by mid-April. While the decision to allow or not allow Belfort to use TRT comes down to a vote by the commission, the executive director’s opinion can still weigh heavily on the outcome.
For now, Belfort will just have to wait and see once the UFC decides on a date for his fight with Weidman before he can officially apply for the exemption. At that point, the commission will assign a hearing for Belfort’s case to be heard.