The Brazilian veteran stepped in to face light heavyweight champion Jon Jones on short notice on Sept. 22, 2012, and was cleared to compete even though his pre-fight test raised a red flag.
Josh Gross reported in September, three years after the fight, that the UFC knew about Belfort’s test and still cleared him to compete. According to the fighter, he was just starting his testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), and everyone involved approved his drug test results.
"I was starting my treatment and I had an approval of my doctor and with the UFC, so, they need someone to step into the fight," Belfort told Inside MMA. "I offered myself. I shared all my tests, my exams with them, and one went public, I think they shared my privates, but everything got approval."
Belfort’s interview with Inside MMA comes days after the fighter cancelled an appearance on The MMA Hour, when Ariel Helwani denied a request from Belfort’s wife Joana Prado to ignore the controversy on his show.
"I never hide anything from anybody," Belfort said. "You know the media. I’ve always received them in my house, I receive them very open, I talk about it and I never try to handle anything. I shared everything I knew, so, in that fight I got approval from the UFC, the commission, you know? I had everything set. I came with no training for a fight with Jon Jones, I almost submitted him in the fight.
"To tell you the truth, I don’t know anything to say. This is the truth," he continued. "And I think when you deal with that, you just gotta know that people will say things, some people will say different things, but the truth is the truth. I learned in the Bible that the truth sets you free, you know, and here I am."
Belfort admits he wishes TRT was still legal, despite all the controversy that it brought to his career.
"(It) wasn’t easy because I still need the treatment, I wish I could have the treatment, but (it) is banned from my sport," he said. "And you know, I have a jar that I drink coffee basically every day, and drink my teas, called ‘it is what it is’. In life, you just gotta make… Most people live in the past and the future, and everything related to your past and your future is hope, or something you regret. Past is regret, future is hope, today is faith, action. And that’s how I live. I live by faith. I’m confident, I’m happy. I got joy in my journey, I got peace in the process, and rightness in my relationship in my life, everyday."
According to the former UFC light heavyweight champion, he’s the only fighter criticized for using the treatment because he was winning fights.
"I don’t see people talking about, but the 14 guys that were in treatment in TRT in the UFC, 12 of them were American guys. And I don’t see the press talking a lot about them," Belfort said. "And, of course, I think the reason that I got too much heat (is) because I was devastating the young generation. And that’s their excuse, that’s why I lost. TRT doesn’t teach you head kicks, spinning head kicks, how to knock people out. You know, Bas (Rutten), you’ve been in the game, you fought the best guys in the era. And fighting, you know, people lose their fight they try to find excuse. I never tried to find one, and I’m not gonna give any one for my opponents.
"No one is perfect, we all make mistakes, but the difference between people that wanna pursue in life don’t make excuses. Find the way to succeed, find the way, go, work hard. No other way. I teach my kids, no other way, work hard and be smart. Choose to walk with the right people, having the right crew around you, and I’m very thankful. I’m still in the treatment. Actually, I’m still on TRT, but I have a new version of that. You guys wanna hear it? It’s true revival touch. Made me alive. I’m alive."
Speaking of excuses, Belfort fired back at Luke Rockhold for his recent comments about Gross’ report. "The Phenom", who dispatched the middleweight contender with a head kick in 2013, while on TRT, thinks his criticism is just excuses.
"I think his head is still spinning from that kick, so that’s the only thing I can see," he said. "I don’t expect anything coming from my opponents, especially when they lose. They find excuses, and they want one. They have to deal with that, but not me."
Belfort, who faces Dan Henderson in the main event of UFC Fight Night 77 in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Nov. 7, admits he has made mistakes in life, but doesn’t trust the media.
"I’m a regular guy, just like you guys," "The Phenom" said of himself. "I work hard. And in this business, you have the media, and the media, sometimes they put a story… And I always tell my son, ‘son, every story has three sides: the side of the one who writes, the other one, who you’re writing about, and the true’. We all make mistakes. I made my mistakes, you made your mistakes, but the key that I think that the word respect, the word forgiveness, the word love."