MMA Fact or Fiction 3.06.14: Vitor Belfort, PEDs, More
Posted by Wyatt Beougher on 03.06.2014
Did the UFC make the right call by replacing Vitor Belfort with Lyoto Machida at UFC 173? Is Vitor hurting himself by refusing to release the results of his drug test? 411's Mark Radulich and Todd Vote debate these topics and more!
Welcome back everyone to another edition of 411's MMA Fact or Fiction, and I'm your host, Wyatt Beougher. We're right in the middle of week two of this year's MMA Fact or Fiction tournament, and, if you missed the results from last week's bouts, here again are the updated brackets:
Voting is now closed on last week's contests, but if you missed them and want to catch up, you can find them here:
Just like last year, the voting window for each contest will be approximately 73 hours from the time they go live on the site, so you've got until midnight EST on Saturday to vote for yesterday's, midnight EST on Sunday to vote for today's, and midnight EST on Monday to vote for tomorrow's. Today, we're continuing with opening round match-ups, moving to the west bracket, where third-seeded Mark Radulich will take on sixth-seeded Todd Vote.
If Vitor's test results were good, why wouldn't he release the results?
1.) In light of Vitor Belfort's history regarding PED use, he has to realize that by not releasing the results of his random test from last month, he invites a great deal of suspicion regarding the real reason why he won't be fighting Chris Weidman at UFC 173.
Mark Radulich:FACT There were already a legion of MMA fans that were suspicious if not outright accusatory toward Belfort regarding his TRT use but this certainly doesn't help matters. However, it also remains to be seen whether or not Belfort gives a hoot what any of us think. It may not matter to him at all what people think is the real reason he's not fighting Chris Weidman. For him all that (probably) matters is his health and his ability to fight in the future; neither of which is dependent on anyone else's opinion of him.
Todd Vote:FACT 95% of the MMA faithful immediately jumped to the conclusion that his test was way off the charts, I'm sure. Rightfully so, I suppose. I mean he has been busted for cheating in the past with PED's, so why would anyone expect that he is actually doing it cleanly now?
I suppose it could be as simple as the now illegal TRT being the cause, but if that is the case, what does he have to lose by revealing the results of his random test? The only reason not to would be if the test results weren't what they should be.
Was contradicting Dana a bad idea for Vitor?
2.) Similarly, it was an equally bad move for Belfort to go on record saying that he didn't pull out of the fight, a statement that directly contradicts the one made by his employers.
Todd Vote:FACT Absolutely! UFC offered a very logical explanation for why he would have to pull out of the fight, given the recent TRT ban. Why would you go on record and contradict that?
Mark Radulich:FACT As I said on the 411 Ground and Pound Radio show last week, it would appear that this is one of those rare instances where the UFC is actually protecting a fighter instead of burying him/her or hanging him/her out to dry. I stated that it would appear that rather than invite scandal and create an embarrassing situation for themselves and for Belfort, it would instead make more sense to just pull Belfort/insist Belfort pull out the fight and cover up as much of the dirt as possible. The UFC is doing Belfort a favor here and may be preventing him from a situation where he gets suspended and can't fight for a longer period than his body will take to adapt to life without TRT. And instead of just going with flow he has to open his mouth like an idiot, creating more suspicion and inviting exactly the kind of scandal the UFC was most likely trying to avoid. That's gratitude for ya!
Smart move by the UFC?
3.) Regardless of the results of Belfort's drug test, the UFC did the right thing in removing him from the middleweight title fight and replacing him with Lyoto Machida.
Mark Radulich:FACT As a fan buying a PPV, we want to see the best fights available that money can buy. Even if Belfort was going to pass every drug test available, it is highly unlikely he would have been in the best shape he could be in to take on Chris Weidman. I don't know about you, but I don't want to fork over $60 to see a lethargic, out of shape, possibly depressed Vitor Belfort get his brains beat in. Machida vs Weidman just makes sense at this juncture for what's supposed to be one of the UFC's premier PPV's of the year. Belfort needs time to let his body adjust and correct itself (as much as it can, considering the damage that has been caused) and not worry about training for a fight. Also, I remember back when Sonnen nearly beat Silva for the title in their first fight and what a mess the UFC narrowly avoided. What if Sonnen had beaten Silva and then tested positive for PED's. It would have been a nightmare. The UFC, as a rule, should avoid potentially terrible situations and that is just what they did here by removing Belfort from the May PPV.
Todd Vote:FACT If Belfort was unable to be cycled off of his TRT treatments and be in fight condition in time for the date of the fight, then they absolutely made the right call. Even if Vitor thought he could be cycled off of TRT in time for the fight, there is still a chance it could have all went south come fight time. Then the UFC would have been left scrambling. This is a much better way to go. Especially if the UFC has told Belfort and his team that he will fight the winner.
Seems odd to me that Hendo would get Brazil's final TRT exemption and not Belfort
4.) With the NSAC and Brazil's athletic commission already placing a ban on TUE exemptions for TRT, and the UFC stating that they'll follow suit in territories where are responsible for testing their fighters, it's only a matter of time before a majority of the remaining of the athletic commissions follow suit.
Todd Vote:FACT One would certainly hope so. Anyone that follows Fact or Fiction here probably knows that I've always had a problem with TRT. I considered it as basically a legal cheat for those who have cheated in the past, whether they were caught for it or not. It would be wise for the rest of the commissions to follow suit on this one. The whole unified front thing, and all.
Mark Radulich:FACT As I said this past Sunday on the 411 Ground and Pound Radio show (9:00 PM EST on blogtalkradio.com), approved use of TRT in the UFC is pretty much dead. I can't speak for other organizations that operate around the world or on Indian reservations (Bellator, I'm looking in your direction), but if you want to use TRT you won't be fighting for the UFC. And I would absolutely agree, that at least in the US, across the board athletic commissions will be banning TUE's for TRT.
Will a victory over Machida mean more to Weidman's legacy than one over Belfort would've?
5.) A successful defense against Lyoto Machida will do more to dispel any lingering doubts about Chris Weidman than one against Vitor Belfort would have.
Mark Radulich:FACT Forgetting about Belfort's use of TRT for a moment and the subsequent previous year of head-kick-ko's, it was pretty much universally believed that Machida was and still is far and away a better fighter than Belfort. That being said, much like Jon Jones, a resounding defeat of one the best fighters in the UFC will send Weidman's stock skyrocketing into the stratosphere. Beating Belfort on the other hand would have resulted in much harrumphing from fans as it believed that with or without TRT, Weidman should easily handle him and therefore nothing would be gained with his defeat.
Todd Vote:FACT Lyoto has always been treated like a bit of an MMA god. He was widely considered the best fighter, aside from Anderson Silva. He was predicted to reach the top of the LHW heap and firmly cement himself as the best that division has ever seen.
That didn't exactly work out, but aside from his losses to Jones and Shogun, Machida only seems to lose in highly controversial decisions, so he doesn't have the same tarnish on him that Belfort has gotten over the years. When he dropped down to middleweight all the talk of how good he is, and what he is capable of, returned as if it had never gone away.
Everytime Vitor steps in the cage, everyone from the announcers to the fans wonder if we will get "The old Vitor". If that is even a question on anyone's mind, whether or not they can expect you to actually show up to fight, you may just have a bit of a stigma attached to your name.
So yes, beating Machida would do more for Weidman than beating Belfort would have done. Both guys are dangerous fighters, and both could potentially end Weidman's reign. But a win over Machida is going to do more for him than beating Belfort.
Who do you think won this bout? Did Mark continue his run of dominance over Todd, or was Todd able to score the upset when it mattered the most? Voting will be open until midnight EST on Sunday, so make sure you vote and make your voice heard! This tournament can't progress without you!
And that's it for today, but we'll be back tomorrow with more opening round action! As always, if there's anything you'd like to see featured in a future edition, leave your statement in the comments and I'll add it in. Let us know what you thought in the comments, on Twitter, or on Google+. And please, be sure to vote!