Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White recently declared once and for all that he wasn't hiding Vitor Belfort in Brazil because of his Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) treatments (more details here).
Even though three of the last four bouts for "The Phenom" -- all victories -- inside the Octagon have taken place in his South American home, leading many mixed martial arts (MMA) conspiracy theorists to believe promotion executives were keeping him out of the United States to avoid facing strict regulations from athletic commissions (like this one) for the controversial treatment.
Belfort, much like his boss, says the notion that he only fights in his native country recently thanks to his approved TRT use is ridiculous, explaining that the guidelines to be approved for the treatment are much stricter in Brazil than anywhere else because fighters have to draw blood a few times before and after the fight.
Something that isn't done anywhere else.
Furthermore, "The Phenom" says the real reason he fights in his native land is because he puts butts in seats ... a lot of them (via "The MMA Hour"):
"You know, a lot of guys are on TRT right now. But, when I fight in Brazil, it's the only place that draw blood work after the fight. That's the only place that does that. So now, I'm fighting a guy who is on TRT, too. So, he's going to be very surprised that they will have to draw blood. In other places, you don't need to, but there you have to. So, it's good to have two guys (on TRT) to have to fight there. The reason I fight in Brazil is because I sell a lot in Brazil. It's great for me to be fighting in my country. I'm used to fighting any other places. But, I don't see any problem. I sell big in Brazil. It makes sense for them and makes sense for me."
Winning two straight in the Middleweight division, Belfort will go back up to Light Heavyweight to take on Dan Henderson at UFC Fight Night 32, which takes place on Nov. 9, 2013, in -- you guessed it -- Goiania, Brazil.
Should he best "Hendo" -- who has used TRT in the past, but has also recently competed without it -- Belfort expects to drop back down to 185 pounds in hopes of getting a title shot against the winner of the much-anticipated rematch between current division champion Chris Weidman and Anderson Silva, which headlines UFC 168 on Dec. 28, 2013, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
In the Brazilian's eyes, that's the only fight that makes sense to him:
"That's the only fight that make sense right now, in my view, that's what's going to happen. But, I'm not a promoter, you're talking promotion right now, and is just a waste of time, Dana is who calls the shots and the UFC. I'm here in my spot. My job is to train, I'm getting ready. I'm going to the gym. I'm trained, focus and happy. That's the only thing I can do."
Of course, getting a win over a proven veteran such as Henderson -- the same person who defeated him at Pride 32 seven years ago, while Belfort was on some illegal sauce (more details here) -- is far from a given.
Nevertheless, Belfort expects to receive his long-awaited title shot at Middleweight should he get his third straight victory in Brazil. But, does a win over "Dangerous Dan" at 205 pounds warrant a second 185-pound title shot?
Considering the circumstances, of course.