The results of Vitor Belfort’s surprise February drug test will not remain secret for much longer. The number one middleweight contender has not fought in the United States since 2011 but after the UFC made it clear that they would try to match up “The Phenom” with champion Chris Weidman in Las Vegas in the coming months, the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) surprised the fighter with a drug test in February.
The results of that test, which presumably tested to see if Belfort’s testosterone levels were within normal and allowable levels, in addition to testing for banned substances, have so far been kept secret. Belfort’s June 17 licensing hearing, however, will reveal the results, according to NSAC executive director Bob Bennett.
“The test results will be made public, yes,” Bennett tells Cagewriter.
“If Mr. Belfort appears at his hearing, which I’m sure he will, the commissioners will get to question him about any topics they want and I’m sure that will come up.”
Belfort submitted to the surprise test back in February but has refused to release the results. Belfort did not have a current license to fight in Nevada at the time and the NSAC said that it could only release the results itself once Belfort applied for a license.
After seeing the results, and after the NSAC banned the use of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), which Belfort has used for years, the Brazilian opted to not apply for a fighter’s license in the state and was removed from the scheduled May title fight against Weidman by the UFC.
This all became immediately material once more when the UFC opted to remove Wanderlei Silva from his scheduled July 5 Vegas fight against Chael Sonnen because of reported recent issues the “The Axe Murderer” himself has had with the NSAC and replace him with Belfort. The NSAC is allowed to test all licensed athletes year-round; they just rarely do because of budget constraints.
The NSAC is also allowed to offer voluntary tests to non-licensed fighters, year-round, as they did with Belfort. Fighters can refuse voluntary drug tests by the NSAC, but they can then be expected to have that refusal come up and be considered in a hearing should they ever apply for a license in Nevada.
Belfort may not have been licensed in Nevada at the time of his surprise test last winter, but his promoter had plans to have him fight in the state soon. Additionally, Belfort tested positive for a banned steroid back in 2006.
Belfort’s doctors say that he suffers from hypogonadism, a condition where his body does not naturally produce normal levels of testosterone. So, international commissions have granted him therapeutic use exemptions (TUE) to undergo TRT in recent years.
However, past steroid abuse has often been linked to hypogonadism and so since Belfort was a known steroid user from his failed test in 2006, it seemed unlikely that he’d receive a TUE for the therapy from more respected and established athletic commissions in the U.S. The thinking goes that Belfort, a phenomenal athlete who has competed in MMA at the highest levels since his teens, was not born with hypogonadism – he may have developed it as a result of past steroid use, which caused his body to stop naturally producing testosterone given the presence of artificial ‘t’ being pumped into his body.
Fighters who were granted TUEs for TRT use were still required to stay within testosterone to epitestosterone ratio levels designated as normal by the NSAC all year round, not just on nights of fights. However, the NSAC rarely tested fighters out of competition to see if they were truly maintaining normal testosterone levels or to determine if they were abusing TRT and conducting training camps with elevated levels before cycling off or to a lower level of therapy in order to be within the allowed range by fight night.
Belfort himself has openly said that he believes “everyone is using during the camp,” but simply cycle off in order to beat fight night tests. Since submitting to his surprise test in February, fans have wondered if the reason Belfort then decided not to release the results and then pull out of a title fight was because he had failed the test in some way.
Was Belfort once more caught with a banned substance in his system? Was he perhaps caught training with elevated levels of testosterone due to his TRT use at the time?
Or, did Belfort keep the test results secret and pull out of a title fight for other reasons and he, in fact, had passed the surprise test? To this day, very few know the answer to that.
That will change June 17 at his licensing hearing in Nevada.
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