Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight Vitor Belfort has been the recipient of much scrutiny in the past few months for his usage of testosterone-replacement-therapy (TRT).
Many feel Belfort has been sketchy regarding his usage of the treatment; however, "The Phenom" claims he is being drug tested on a weekly basis and that his employers knew all along he had a therapeutic use exception (TUE) for TRT.
He explains to Brazilian news outlet TATAME:
"The UFC always knew that I use, do not do it to cheat. I have medical monitoring and UFC also accompanies it. Never broken through anything, always acted cleanly. Do blood tests every week to equal the testosterone levels of a person my age. Many people are averse to treatment. I do not. I am in favor of people being open and fair in what they are doing,"
Questions about Belfort using TRT came about last January prior to his UFC on FX 7 match up with Michael Bisping when the Brazilian gave some sketchy answers to ESPN when the topic of TRT was brought up.
The former light heavyweight champion never admitted to using TRT until after the fight when the UFC released a statement confirming that he indeed received a TUE for TRT.
While Belfort is far from the only UFC fighter to be on the treatment, what sets him apart from the others is the fact he tested positive for testosterone following a 2006 bout under the Pride banner.
There's a camp of people who believe fighters are abusing TRT in order to recover faster from training sessions, avoid injuries and gain a competitive edge; however, Belfort claims he is being tested on a weekly basis to make sure his limits are in check.
The weekly tests are most definitely a product of UFC President Dana White's recent decision to crack down on TRT users. Despite saying a proven performance enhancing drug (PED) user such as Belfort may have to retire if he can't be on TRT, it appears the UFC isn't willing to push Belfort out the door and are happy to settle with the weekly tests.
Belfort is next scheduled to compete in the main event of UFC on FX 8 when he takes on Luke Rockhold, the final Middleweight champion in Strikeforce history, at Arena Jaragua in Jaragua do Sul, Brazil, on May 18, 2013.