Eyebrows were raised when it was revealed that longtime mixed martial arts (MMA) veteran Vitor Belfort was under medically approved testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) for his main event fight against Michael Bisping at UFC on FX 7 last month.
For some, it wasn't too surprising, due to the fact "The Phenom" preferred to play it coy when the topic of the controversial treatment came up a few weeks prior to his showdown against "The Count" in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Belfort knocked Bisping out of middleweight title contention after delivering a perfectly placed head kick to the British brawler, giving him his third straight win at 185 pounds. The win also inched the Brazilian bomber a bit closer to another crack at the division title held by current champion Anderson Silva.
But first, before he can look ahead to a potential rematch against "The Spider," Belfort has to get past former Strikeforce middleweight champion Luke Rockhold when the promotion heads back to Brazil on May 18, 2013 for UFC on FX 8.
While some, like the aforementioned Bisping, see TRT as "dressed up cheating" and others, like Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight Champion Ben Henderson, see fighters under the treatment as "mentally weak," Rockhold doesn't have too much of a problem with it.
He broke it down to Bleacher Report in a recent interview:
"I think the TRT thing should be out in the open before fights and not after they end. I was also under the belief that if you've been caught with performance enhancing drugs in the past, there was no option for TRT... but ultimately it doesn't matter to me. I saw Ben Henderson's statement about TRT and PED's being a weakness and I feel the exact same way. I don't really care. I'm going out there and I'm going to do what I do. I'm going to beat people whether they are on it or they are clean. I'm a clean fighter and I'm going to go out there and I am going to do my job. It doesn't matter to me. Honestly, I get more satisfaction beating people who are on the stuff."
To Rockhold's point, there have been instances where the information of whether or not certain fighters are on TRT before the fights has been made available prior to fight night.
Nevertheless, at the end of the day, a victory is much sweeter for Rockhold knowing he defeated a guy who was "on the stuff" and if he can manage to get past Belfort in Brazil, the Strikeforce import can perhaps earn himself a shot at the UFC's title, in the process.