When Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) needed a light heavyweight to step up and challenge Jon Jones for the division title at UFC 152 back in September, they called on Vitor Belfort, who was nestled snugly in his new home at 185 pounds.
Following the pay-per-view (PPV) event, which emanated from the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, select fighters tested negative for performance-enhancing drugs, as well as drugs of abuse, under the direction of UFC Vice President of Government and Regulatory affairs, Mark Ratner.
It was also revealed that one fighter was granted a therapeutic-use exemption (TUE) for testosterone-replacement therapy (TRT); however, his name was not disclosed because he tested within legal limits. With no regulatory body in Ontario, that decision rested solely with UFC.
Many fans (and pundits) unfairly singled out Belfort, who was popped for steroids back in 2006, despite having no evidence other than physical appearance to suggest the former champion had joined the ranks of Chael Sonnen, Forrest Griffin and Frank Mir.
To help clear up any confusion, Brett Okamoto at ESPN flat-out asked him if he was on TRT:
"If a question is private, I have the choice to answer or not. If I make it public, it’s not private anymore. If I want to say something private I will say it, but I keep to myself and I respect the laws of the sport. Whatever the organization, whatever the law -- they know what to do. This is too controversial, why am I going to say something that doesn’t accomplish anything? If it’s legal, they know what to do. If it’s legal, there’s nothing to say about it. It’s legal... It’s hard. Like, you’re either a Republican or Democrat. Who is right? I think it’s this: The truth is always in the middle. Of course, some things are non-negotiable. I think in life, you just need to find a balance. That’s the problem with the rule, is that everyone is so radical. That’s my opinion. I’m very faithful to the things I believe in and I’m working on myself. I don’t like to judge. When you judge people, it sounds like you are God. We live in a freedom country. It is what it is."
TRT is permitted in mixed martial arts (MMA), even though some fighters like Michael Bisping believe it's cheating.
Speaking of "The Count," he'll go head-to-head against Belfort in the main event of UFC on FX 7, which goes down a week from Saturday at Ginasio Estadual Geraldo Jose de Almeida in Sao Paulo, Brazil. With no commission in place, UFC will once again handle all relevant drug screenings.
Draw your own conclusions.
For more on their upcoming showdown at UFC on FX 7 click here.