Belfort diagnosed with hypogonadism, prescribed TRT
Earlier today it was reported that Thiago Tavares was the rumored individual who tested positive for performance enhancing drugs at UFC on FX 7, and not Vitor Belfort. However, it was also announced today that "The Phenom" did in fact legally use testosterone replacement therapy before his bout with Michael Bisping.
Officials stated that Belfort suffers from hypogonadism and was prescribed the treatment:
To dispel rumors that have been circulated, Zuffa wishes to clarify that Vitor Belfort’s drug test results were negative and did not indicate the presence of any performance enhancing drugs.
Belfort has been on a medically approved testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) regimen under the supervision of a medical doctor from the State of Nevada, after being diagnosed with hypogonadism, or low testosterone. The purpose of a medically administered TRT regimen is to allow patients with hypogonadism to maintain testosterone levels within a range that is normal for an adult male.
Like Chael Sonnen and Nate Marquardt before him, Belfort will feel the sting of this. While it may be legal (if prescribed ), the idea of using TRT is still one widely frowned upon in MMA. Many feel that while it is not technically considered a steroid, it still gives you an edge that you would not naturally have going in to a fight.
Belfort's last opponent, Michael Bisping, touched on the the subject of TRT back in August of 2012 (MMAMania), echoing how many feel on the treatment:
"I think it's absolute nonsense, rubbish, bullsh*t. Listen, we all get old, we all grow up, you know? At some point, as you start getting older, your balls don't work as well and you don't make as much testosterone, but, that's life and you deal with it. A guy that is 40-years old doesn't make as much testosterone as a 21-year old so he gets an exemption certificate to say, 'So now we will give him as much testosterone as a 21-year old.'
Well, what about me, I'm 33 (years of age), I'm not making the same amount as a 21-year old, but I make more than a 40-year old. Where do we draw the line? It's nonsense. Listen, nature determines that and I don't think we should interfere with that. I think it's cheating very, very well, it's dressed up. Its nonsense, its absolute bullsh*t and I, for one, am very, very against it. I would never ever do that. I am who I am and I've done well doing what I do."
This is not the first time Belfort has been in the middle of this sort of controversy. In 2006, he was actually caught and suspended for using 4-hydroxytestosterone, an anabolic steroid which increased his level of testosterone in his bout with Dan Henderson at Pride 32. The fact that Belfort was previously caught doping could raise questions as to the legitimacy of TRT, as many will simply see it as a loophole for previous offenders and others to work their way around the system to use a PED.