After quite a bit of speculation, we can finally add Vitor Belfort to the growing list of MMA fighters using Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT). “The Phenom” now joins a group of fighters that includes Chael Sonnen, Dan Henderson, Forrest Griffin and Frank Mir, all of whom have been granted a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) for TRT in the past.

Every fighter that has had his use of TRT revealed has been subjected to a bit of criticism, but it seems like those who oppose TRT usage have quieted down over the last few months. As a result, the amount of backlash towards Belfort has been less than expected.

Soon after Belfort’s big win over Michael Bisping last month, reports started to surface that one of the fighters on the card had tested positive for a banned substance. Immediately, the MMA community started buzzing that Belfort was the fighter at fault, and “The Phenom’s” big win started to look a lot less impressive.

With Belfort’s victory seemingly about to be overturned, his reputation as a top fighter was taking a serious hit until UFC President Dana White cleared the air and announced that Belfort had not tested positive for any banned substances. However, his TUE for TRT was revealed soon after.

Belfort didn’t do anything wrong, and once the MMA world found out that there was no punishment headed his way, it was almost as if “The Phenom” was completely forgiven. Sure, Belfort’s reputation probably took a hit on Twitter and MMA message boards, but for the most part it seemed like the MMA community was willing to accept it and move on.

Does this mean that those who oppose TRT are starting to give up? Not likely, but there’s really no sign of change in sight. We can complain about TRT and the associated exemptions as much as we’d like, but in the end the decision is in the hands of the state athletic commissions.

The other reason why the MMA world was so willing to look away could be due to the speculation that Belfort had failed a test to begin with. Once it was revealed that “The Phenom” was clean after his win over Bisping, it felt like a huge controversy had been avoided and as a result Belfort’s legacy didn’t take too much of a hit.

In the end, Belfort earned a big win to inch him towards another shot at Anderson Silva’s middleweight belt, and that’s all that matters to many members of the MMA community. He didn’t break any rules, and the ethical part of the argument doesn’t matter if nothing is going to be changed.

Is this the right attitude to have towards TRT? Probably not, but it’s hard to continually criticize fighters who obtain a TUE, especially when it seems like a new fighter is added to the list every month.

Unless someone gives fans a reason to believe that athletic commissions are looking into changing the rules regarding TRT, eventually they’re just going to accept that it is a part of the sport and move on.

Photo: Vitor Belfort (Patrick Formosinho/Dentro do Ringue)

About The Author

Vince Carey
Staff Writer

Vince Carey has been writing about the sport of mixed martial arts since 2010. Although he is just 21 years old, the Omaha-based writer is looking to provide readers with interesting content on all things related to MMA.