A day before the second GOP debate, Ben Carson turned to a "Phenom."
The Republican presidential candidate and former neurosurgeon met with UFC fighter Vitor Belfort and his team Tuesday. Carson tweeted a picture of the group together. The GOP debate is scheduled for Wednesday in Colorado.
A little pre-debate prep with former #UFC Light Heavyweight Champ @vitorbelfort and team. Great sparring partner! pic.twitter.com/IZJSAC1M3M— Dr. Ben Carson (@RealBenCarson) October 27, 2015
Carson has won the Presidential Medal of Freedom twice as a neurosurgeon before retiring as a doctor in 2013. He has become a popular conservative personality over the last few years. However, the Detroit native has come under fire recently for controversial statements, like one he made earlier this month about the Holocaust possibly being prevented if the Jews had guns.
Both Belfort and Carson are devout Christians, which could explain the relationship between the two men. Belfort, a Brazil native, is a former UFC light heavyweight champion and legend of MMA. However, he too has been the subject of controversy lately. Last month, Deadspin reported that Belfort, a known testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) user, had a sketchy drug test before his title fight with Jon Jones in 2012. The UFC still allowed Belfort to fight.
UFC vice president of public relations Dave Sholler said following UFC 191 that there was no cover-up by the promotion.
"That period of time with TRT is one that was tricky for everyone: For the UFC, for athletic commissions, and for athletes alike," Sholler said. "I think when everyone came to a conclusion it didn't have a place in the sport and was outlawed in 2014, we were quick to make sure that we too followed suit, as Nevada has said."
The UFC has since hired leading third-party testing group USADA to run its anti-doping program.
Belfort meets Dan Henderson in a trilogy bout that headlines UFC Fight Night 77 on Nov. 7 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.