Michael Bisping is happy to know that TRT is on the outs in Nevada, but he isn’t exactly holding his breath that a ban will change the behavior of perhaps its most famous user: Vitor Belfort.
“Vitor’s a cheat, simple as that,” Bisping today told MMAjunkie. “He’ll go out and try to find another way to cheat. He’ll find another way of manipulating the system, or he’ll try.
“For a guy that talks about Jesus, you should want to step in there the way God intended him to be. He’s a hypocrite.”
Bisping (24-5 MMA, 14-5 UFC), who is set to fight Tim Kennedy (17-4 MMA, 2-0 UFC) in April at the TUF Nations Finale after an eye injury threatened his career, said he’s moved past a loss to Belfort in January 2013 that derailed a potential middleweight title shot and forced him back to the drawing board.
He does, however, take satisfaction in knowing that regulators are cracking down on the controversial practice of hormone replacement, one that undoubtedly aided Belfort on his rise to title contention.
“It’s nice to know they’re being branded the cheats they have always been,” Bisping said. “They’ve been chemically enhancing their bodies for quite some time, and I always took a hard stance against it. Fortunately, the UFC and the Nevada athletic commission are branding it for what it is; it’s an unfair advantage and whole thing is just a mockery to the whole concept of sport and fair competition.
“In the past, I’ve lost to three guys on TRT. They had an unfair advantage, and I’m just glad nobody is going to have to suffer a defeat at the hands of somebody on TRT.”
The TUF Nations Finale takes place April 16 at Colisee Pepsi in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. The main card airs on FOX Sports 1 following prelims on UFC Fight Pass.
Bisping’s career is notable for the number of disclosed TRT users he’s competed against and lost to, including Belfort, Chael Sonnen and Dan Henderson, all of whom were undergoing TRT at the time of their fights.
“The past is the past, of course,” he said. “I never knew that my opponent was on TRT; it was only after the fight took place that I was privy to that knowledge. Being a competitor, I would have never turned down the fight anyway, but the fact that it’s not allowed, it kind of makes you wonder.”
Thankfully, his next opponent, Kennedy, is a staunch opponent of doctor-approved testosterone use, so he doesn’t have to worry about whether or not an unfair advantage will be employed in the cage. But does the NSAC’s ban change the way he thinks about his losses? Do they now have asterisks beside them?
“I think with Vitor, it definitely should be,” Bisping said. “This is a guy that failed a drug test in the past, and now he’s taking TRT. For a while, he wouldn’t reveal the fact that he was on TRT, and now he’s very pro-TRT, and now that they’ve banned it, he’ll probably will just find another way to do it.”
Belfort has yet to comment on the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s ban on therapeutic-use exemptions for TRT and what path he’ll take toward getting licensed in the state for a title bout with champ Chris Weidman in May at UFC 173. With his stated plan to ask for a therapeutic-use exemption now off the table, it’s likely he’ll merely apply for a fight license and appear before the commission to answer for a previous NSAC steroid failure, his TRT use, and his status as a fighter over the age of 35.
“I’m definitely rooting for Chris Weidman,” Bisping said. “From a personal selfish position, regardless of what happened, Vitor does hold a victory over me; he connected with a decent head kick, and good for him. If Vitor was to be the champion, it might be more of a difficult sell fighting Vitor again.
“This is going to piss me off as well, because if Weidman is victorious, he fought Vitor not on the juice. So Weidman’s going to get even more credit. Is he credible? No. Anderson (Silva) broke his leg (in his second fight with Weidman); the first fight he acted like an idiot. Against Vitor, he fought him not on the juice. So let’s put it all in perspective.
“But for me personally, I want Chris to win. I’m going to make an example of Tim Kennedy, and then I would love my shot at the belt.”
Bisping’s ultimate goal is, of course, aimed at winning a title that’s eluded him since his winning turn on “The Ultimate Fighter 3.” While being one of the middleweight division’s more popular fighters, he hasn’t been able to win key fights that put him in title contention.
The NSAC’s rule change may have come too late for “The Count,” but he is still open to the idea of fighting Belfort again down the road.
“I wouldn’t want to do it this year, because it’s going to take a while before the effects of those drugs that he’s been taking truly come out of his system,” he said. “The muscle that he’s gained, that’s going to take a while before it diminishes. So he still might be at an advantage at the Chris Weidman fight. With the amount of cardio we do, it’s hard to put that kind of muscle on.
“But sure, I would love to fight Vitor. Give it a year, let him get all the juice out of his system, and then let’s do it again.”