Is Testosterone Replacement Therapy Hurting Vitor Belfort More Than It Is Helping Him?
By Christopher Jester
Some would say that TRT (testosterone replacement therapy) is associating “The Phenom” back with Vitor Belfort. After devastating his last three opponents to picture-perfect headkicks, Vitor Belfort has cemented himself as a reinvigorated man. While most fighters would have the fan clamoring for him to get a title shot after such memorable victories, there is a large amount who is stating that Belfort’s controversial use of TRT is an epitaph that cannot be overlooked. But should the fans take away Belfort’s recent victories because of his use of TRT?
It is hard to answer that with a straight face. With his recent victory over Dan Henderson at UFC Fight Night 32, he accomplished a feat in knocking out Henderson who had never been KO’d in his career. A footnote to that victory should be that Henderson is also a well-known user of TRT. Shouldn’t that decrease some of the hate towards Belfort? Just a little. The reality is Henderson is much older and in his most recent fights he has slowed down tremendously; even though he was never known for his speed anyway, it was all the more obvious at Fight Night 32. Unless TRT is superior in Brazil, it is obvious that Belfort was just the better fighter last Saturday night.
Look, it is blatantly apparent that Belfort has been different since his admitted use of TRT. The 36-year-old looks like the Phenom of old. In fact, he looks better now than he ever has. Finishing Michael Bisping, Luke Rockhold, and now Dan Henderson by astonishing headkicks – Belfort has been on another level as of late. It is the main reason why people cannot look past his controversial therapies.
The reality though is that Belfort has been on a roll for quite some time. Can we honestly pinpoint all of it to TRT? He has only lost two fights since 2006, both to champions. Is he just simply the top contender? Certainly, but that association with hormone replacement therapy does not help his cause.
Fans may not be able to look past it but at this point it is just a part of what comes along with Belfort. He has looked fantastic since publically admitting his use of it. So it is clearly a part of his mystique now. That does not mean that he would not have been able to finish all of those fights he has stacked up so far. Another issue is that Belfort does not help himself with his public image. Taking fights only in Brazil where he has the license for his therapeutic use of hormone replacement surely is not a way to instill in the fans that he is not in some form using this as a way to cheat.
If and when Belfort fights, for the most part fans always expect him to bring it and lay it all in the Octagon. Nothing has changed about that since we were introduced to him nearly two decades ago. His fighting style is damn-near patented at this point. He will rush you, and he will look to turn off your lights. So in that regards, very little about Belfort’s fighting style has changed. It all falls on his relationship with TRT.
And it is too bad, actually. Witnessing the resurgence of Vitor Belfort has been exciting. He has the name and the star power to become a quality number one contender to the middleweight title. But that polarized reputation with TRT is actually hampering his campaign back to the title. If Belfort was simply Belfort without any assistance of hormone replacement therapy, surely the fans would want to see him back in title contention. But with it the aura of Vitor Belfort is cloudy at best. His impressive victories have made him a contender but with all the controversy surrounding his link with TRT it leaves him a puzzling yet prominent figure at the top of the heap within the UFC.
Follow Christopher “sLapDatSuCKa” Jester on Twitter @sLapDatSuCka
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