Vitor Belfort’s spinning heel kick KO at Luke Rockhold’s expense on Saturday night was one of the most spectacular finishes of the year so far, yet as the dust settles on the event it’s the Brazilian’s legal use of Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) that’s become the biggest talking point.
Belfort himself is keen to avoid talking about the subject altogether. So much so that when questioned about it by veteran MMAJunkie.com reporter John Morgan post-fight in Brazil he refused to talk to him and went as far as to ask if someone in the audience would do him a favor and beat up the journalist.
It’s not the first time Belfort has tried to let the fact that he’s currently using TRT by way of a legal Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE), but when pressed on the matter prior to this past weekend’s bout he insisted that he was doing nothing wrong, and from a legal standpoint he’s correct.
However, from a moral standpoint the issue becomes cloudier.
While a TUE only grants a fighter the ability to raise his testosterone levels to within a normal level, it is interesting to see how Belfort’s use of the treatment has coincided with impressive results inside the cage.
Impressive results outside the cage too, according to the man himself who claims that at the age of 36 he’s now in the best condition of his life, “in every aspect.”
Belfort puts that down to his strength and conditioning routine, but others feel there’s more to it than that.
After watching Belfort’s impressive display against Rockhold, Brian Stann was one respected fighter who firmly believes that fighters using TRT are gaining an advantage over those who don’t.
“I have trained with guys pre & post testosterone usage & difference is incredible,” Stann wrote on Twitter. “Speed & power. I am not trying to be a jerk & not jealous of other fighter success, I am secure in who I am. Allowing pro fighters to inject test is just plain ridiculous.”
Among those who agreed with him was fellow UFC fighter Derek Brunson.
“Agree.” Brunson wrote in reply. “Confidence, energy, swag, cardio everything goes up. It allows you to train harder, etc. Just ridiculous.”
It’s interesting to note however that despite Rockhold himself being critical of those who are using TRT prior to fighting Belfort, afterwards he insisted that it was not responsible for his loss.
“TRT had nothing to do with that kick,” Rockhold said at the post-fight presser. “I lost to one of the best guys in the world, and it was something pretty spectacular.”
Nevertheless, it’s a debate that shows no sign of slowing down in the foreseeable future.