Following a damning report last month regarding a suspicious 2012 drug test of Vitor Belfort’s prior to UFC 152, the UFC has remained largely silent. However, the subject was broached Saturday night following UFC 192, and UFC VP of Public Relations Dave Sholler gave a statement.
“One of the things to keep in mind in this particular topic is, any suggestion or inference that there is a ‘cover up’ regarding to that, is categorically false,” Sholler said (transcribed by BloodyElbow.com). “That period of time with TRT, was one that was tricky for everyone, for the UFC, for the athletic commissions, and for the athletes alike. I think when everyone came to a conclusion that it didn’t have a place in the sport, when it was outlawed in 2014, we were quick to make sure that we too followed suit as Nevada had said.
“As you look at it today, we have signed on with one of the greatest and most stringent anti-doping policies in the world, through USADA. So our positioning on anti-doping in the sport, is the same. We have no place for it in our sport, and we’re going through Jeff Novitzky and the USADA folks to continue to be aggressive and make sure that performance enhancing drugs have no place in the UFC.”
Penick’s Analysis: Passing it off as “tricky for everyone” is ignoring the very simple fact that Belfort’s levels constituted an adverse result from where he was supposed to be at under the supposed treatment. That the UFC knew about it and did nothing – and then attempted to threaten and silence those who inadvertently found out because they leaked the drug tests in question – brings them deservedly under scrutiny for their actions. That is even further the case when they presented the outside face of being very much against these drugs only to then essentially allow Belfort – with impunity – to abuse a system that was already flawed. Maybe it wasn’t so much a “cover-up” as it was willful ignorance to what was being done, but the end result is the same, and that’s that Belfort was allowed to compete when he shouldn’t have been.