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Vitor Belfort cleared for UFC return ... in Brazil


Esther Lin for MMA Fighting

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight contender Vitor Belfort has been cleared to return to the Octagon following a ban on testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), which required "The Phenom" to purge his body of the controversial treatment before challenging for the middleweight strap.

So ... what's the catch?

He still can't fight in Las Vegas, where there appear to be some licensing issues that still need to be worked out with the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC). But those stipulations do not apply to the Brazilian MMA Athletic Commission (CABMMA), according to medical director Marcio Tannure.

From his conversation with MMA Fighting:

"He can fight here, no problem, but he can't use TRT. Since he doesn't have a license to use TRT anymore, he would be tested like any other fighter. Every commission has its standards. I don't know which test he did and what was the result, so I can't talk about it and which criteria they're considering in (Belfort's) case. Every time a fighter that tested positive in the past applies for a license in Nevada is tested again, and we will adopt that here as well. This is an interesting criteria, and we will also do it, but (Belfort) never tested positive here."

Interesting indeed...

Belfort insists he's already passed all the necessary drug tests, well ahead of his 90-day cycle, and is now training like an "animal," thanks to a generous dose of Holy Spirit. The Brazilian expects to apply for his stateside licence "soon," something his boss finds "hilarious."

Will Belfort still get to fight the winner of Chris Weidman vs. Lyoto Machida, who battle for the "All American" belt at UFC 175?

That may depend on "The Phenom." The promotion likes to hold major title fights in "Sin City" and may not be in a big hurry to send everyone overseas just to accommodate the needs of one fighter. Especially when Belfort has already been accused of "hiding" in Brazil.


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