Vitor Belfort has been in a long term battle over questions regarding his use of TRT following his 2009 return to the UFC. Most recently he's been answering inquiries stemming from a Deadspin article that seemed to expose a failed drug test in the lead up to Belfort's fight with then LHW champion Jon Jones at UFC 152 back in 2012. Or, perhaps its fairer to say he's been avoiding said questions.
That was the headline back on October 26th, when Belfort seemingly backed out of an interview on the MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani at the last minute, reportedly over an attempt from Belfort's wife/manager to avoid talking about the UFC 152 tests during the show. Now, however, he's looking to address those concerns, during an interview on Inside MMA:
"You know, I was starting my treatment and I had approval of my doctor and with the UFC," Belfort said of the Deadspin report. "They need someone to step into that fight. I offered myself. I share all my tests, all my exams with them. One went public I think; they share my privates, but everything got approval, you know? I never hide anything from anybody, you know, in the media. I always receive them in my house, I receive them very openly. I talk about it and I never try to hand them anything... I shared everything that I knew. So, that fight, I got approval by the UFC, by the commission, I had everything set. I came with no training for a fight [with] Jon Jones, I almost submit him in the fight.
"To tell you the truth, I don't know anything to say. This is the truth. And I think when you deal with that, you just gotta know that people will say things, some people will say different things, but the truth is the truth. I learn in the Bible that 'the truth sets you free,' you know? And here I am, and I'm not running away from the media, everybody got invited. Ariel Helwani got invited, just like you guys, to do a private interview with me. He didn't want to come. And he was invited for the press conference. We are open to talk to the media. I always receive them very open, but on this case I don't know anything else to say anymore."
He also gave a quick nod to criticisms from fellow fighters, most notably Luke Rockhold:
"I think his head is still spinning from that kick," Belfort joked in response to accusations from Rockhold. "That's the only thing I can say, you know? You know what is this? In Brazil we call 'elbow pain.' When someone's jealous, we call it elbow pain. I don't expect anything coming from my opponents. Especially when they lose, they find the excuse. And if they want one, they have to deal with that, but not me."
Belfort's wife and manager, Joana Prado, also spoke to Sherdog about the incident involving the MMA Hour and while generally declining to comment about Belfort's 152 tests reaffirmed that his fight was carried out with "UFC approval" and "doctor's supervision." (transcription via Sherdog)
"First of all, everybody knows that Vitor never refused to answer any questions the press asked him. A good example involves the questions regarding his [testosterone replacement] therapy that was banned over a year ago, and he keeps answering all of them. I don't know if the media or the fans know, but at the time Vitor was on TRT, 14 other fighters were on the treatment, as well, and 12 of them were Americans. However, Vitor is the only one who talks about it, and he has released his test results.
"Regarding the reporter, he asked me to give him an exclusive interview. I thought the interview would be based on Vitor's upcoming fight, but when I realized that was not the subject, I invited [Helwani] to join the press conference Vitor was going to do the following day; the reporter chose not to participate. Put yourself in my shoes for one minute. Vitor has a very important fight coming up. He is at the very end of his training camp, and he is completely focused on his upcoming fight. It makes no sense to stop his training sessions or even his recovery time to give an interview that would cause him to lose focus. As his manager, I have to take care of these things. I will always do what I think is best for my athlete; that's my job. Once again, I made sure to invite the reporter to come to media day. Not coming was his choice.
"Regarding the [Deadspin] article, we have nothing to say. All we know is that Vitor was starting his treatment under doctor's supervision and with UFC approval. He fought Jon Jones at UFC 152, and, by the way, he was the only one willing to step up for that fight on such short notice; and he almost won in the very first round."
There you have it. I doubt that these comments put a definitive close on this story, but it seems, as far as Belfort and his Prado are concerned, this is a problem that lies squarely in the UFC's lap. It seems, from their point of view, he fought under full disclosure and approval from the promotion.