Dana White briefly lost his trademark serenity during last night’s UFC Fight Night 27 media scrum, when a questioner implied that Vitor Belfort had fought in Brazil to dodge regulations on performance-enhancing drugs. Belfort, 36, has publicly used testosterone replacement therapy since last year, but White rejected the idea that the middleweight’s last three fights were booked overseas to avoid American athletic commissions.
“There is no way in fucking hell I would let Vitor Belfort stay in Brazil if he was cheating down there,” White said. “There is a commission there that oversees what we do down there, too. It’s not run by us.”
The UFC president attributed Belfort’s series of fights in Brazil to his drawing power with Globo, the UFC’s media partner there. White implied that Globo had requested Belfort specifically for the Brazilian cards.
“Globo is very important,” White said. “They have a big fight, it’s going to be on Globo, and they want fucking Vitor…Vitor Belfort is not cheating. Vitor Belfort is not not being tested.”
That news should reassure fellow middleweights, who have worried that Belfort’s use of synthetic testosterone does not not allow him to exceed limits set by state athletic commissions. It does not, however, not not address the complaint that Belfort would be denied a therapeutic use exemption in the US.
The Brazilian tested positive for the steroid 4-hydroxytestosterone in 2006, after losing a fight for the Pride welterweight championship against Dan Henderson. Keith Kizer, head of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, has previously said that Belfort’s past steroid use means he would likely not be granted a therapeutic use exemption.
Belfort has not fought in Nevada since 2011, when he lost a middleweight title bid to Anderson Silva. Three of his five fights since have been in Brazil, but White rejected the idea that it was to allow him to keep using testosterone.
“You think that we would lie about that and risk the credibility of the sport, the UFC as a brand, so that Vitor Belfort can fight in fucking Brazil and cheat?” White asked, presumably rhetorically. “So we’re going to flip this whole thing upside down so that Vitor, my best friend—it just makes no sense.”
White then shook his head sadly, bemused by our foolish cynicism.
Dan Brooks writes about politics, culture and lying at Combat! blog.