Vitor Belfort likely to face licensing hurdles regardless of next fight’s location

Vitor Belfort may not be able to keep the results of his recent test a secret much longer.

Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

In dismissing requests for his client Vitor Belfort’s Feb. 7 drug test, attorney Neil Tabachnick told media outlets the results were "not relevant" after Belfort was pulled from the fight.

They won’t stay irrelevant permanently, however. In fact, when the No. 2 middleweight Belfort receives his next fight assignment, they may be the most crucial component in his return process, regardless of whether it’s in Nevada or elsewhere.

Regulators for athletic commissions in several states have told FOX Sports that they will request the results of that drug test before granting him a license to compete. An adverse result might sack his application, but so might a refusal to provide the requested information.

"I would consider a failure to supply [the results] a disqualifier for licensure," a major state athletic commission head told FOX Sports under the condition of anonymity. 

I would consider a failure to supply [the results] a disqualifier for licensure.

- Anonymous state athletic commission head

The results of that random test — taken due to Belfort’s use of testosterone replacment therapy (TRT) — still remain publicly unknown. Nevada state athletic commission chairman Francisco Aguilar told FOX Sports on Wednesday that due to confidentiality laws, results could not be reported to the Association of Boxing Commissions as they normally are following in-competition testing, and would not be reported unless Belfort released them.

However, the results could become public if Belfort’s next fight is scheduled in Nevada and he applies for a license there. Aguilar said that if that is the case, Belfort will be put before a vote of the full five-person commission as part of the licensure process, and that the test results at that time would become public. 

In a recent statement, Belfort said that the UFC informed him he will be facing the winner of champion Chris Weidman’s upcoming defense against Lyoto Machida. Including that May bout, five of the last six middleweight title defenses have come in Las Vegas.

"It’s a unique situation with Belfort, because he’s what’s called a comprehensive review," Aguilar said. "Because of his age, he has to go before a full vote of the commission. There’s no option for an administrative review."

Belfort turns 37 years old next month. Nevada requires fighters 36 or older to go through the comprehensive application process, complete with commission review. During that time, anything in his file — including the results of the recent test — would be up for review.

Other states could not access the information so immediately, but with a simple request could force him to either divulge the results or send him looking elsewhere. Either way, it seems that even though he’s publicly stated he will no longer take TRT, time is not likely to make his problem go away, and any reluctance to offer the results of his test is simply delaying the inevitable.