On November 9, Vitor Belfort and Dan Henderson will meet at the Goiania Arena in Goiania, Brazil. The bout, a light heavyweight contest, will serve as the main event for UFC Fight Night 32. It will also mark the fourth time in five fights that Belfort has fought in Brazil.
That type of scheduling has raised some eyebrows in the MMA world, with some questioning if Belfort is being "hidden" in Brazil. Those questions revolve around the fact that some athletic commissions may not be willing to grant Belfort a therapeutic use exemption for his use of testosterone replacement therapy.
Belfort, appearing on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour addressed some of these concerns, specifically the question of if Brazil’s testing for fighters with TRT TUE’s is as vigorous as it would be elsewhere (via MMAFighting.com):
Brazil is the only place that they do blood tests after the fight. Now, I’m fighting a guy who’s on TRT too. They are very surprised that they will have to test blood too. Two months before the fight I have to do blood tests, at least once a month. I do that on my own every week too. It’s important. I’m just trying to be fair with everybody and also with myself.
The problem with that statement is that it is only partially true. Brazil is not the only place that does blood tests for TRT. Nevada State Athletic Commission executive director Keith Kizer was contacted for this story and asked what the post-fight protocol is for Nevada regarding testing fighters with TUE’s for TRT. Kizer responded by saying that Nevada tests "both blood and urine."
A minor misstatement on Belfort’s part? Perhaps, but it just as well could be Belfort looking to control the direction of the conversation.
The other thing to consider is the question of who is going to perform the post-fight blood testing in Brazil. As Bloody Elbow’s Brent Brookhouse reported last week. Brazil's only WADA accredited testing facility was suspended by WADA earlier in August.
According to Brookhouse’s research, WADA's release on the situation said:
WADA has suspended the accreditation of the LAB DOP - LADETEC / IQ - UFRJ Doping Control Laboratory (LADETEC) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The suspension, which is effective as of August 8, 2013, prohibits the LADETEC from carrying out any WADA-related anti-doping activities."
Fair or not, Belfort and the UFC can expect the questions regarding Belfort to keep coming until he fights outside of Brazil.