Neither Vitor Belfort nor the UFC have truly addressed a report from Josh Gross for Deadspin last month regarding a questionable drug test result into his UFC 152 bout with Jon Jones, and into Belfort’s fight with Dan Henderson next week at UFC Fight Night 77, he’s now turning down interviews unless that subject is not broached.
Belfort was scheduled to appear on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, but was pulled by his manager, according to Helwani, because the show host and Fox Sports 1 “insider” wouldn’t agree to keep that subject out of the interview. Helwani first took to Twitter to reveal Belfort was out, and explained on the show exactly why.
Here’s the exchange Helwani said he had with Belfort’s wife (via BloodyElbow.com):
Ariel Helwani: “I give you my word that I will be fair and I hope that means a lot for you guys… I will not be causing any harm”
Belfort’s Wife: Okay, but please no Deadspin questions, TRT or past TRT results. Vitor is giving you his valuable time. I believe we can count on you.
Ariel Helwani: This is is first interview since that story came out by Josh Gross, so if it’s not addressed in a small capacity then it will make not only him but me look bad. I don’t want to harp on this but I feel like it needs to be addressed.
Belfort’s Wife: If Vitor had anything to say he would have said it already. You asked me when the website released the info and we didn’t give you a word. I’m sorry Ariel but if you are going to ask about that then unfortunately Vitor will not be able to talk to you.
Belfort had an abnormally high level of free testosterone in his system in a drug test in close proximity to his short notice fight with Jones, and former Nevada Athletic Commission executive director Keith Kizer has said the numbers shown in that test would have led them to not allow the fight had it been in their jurisdiction. Belfort at the time was on testosterone replacement therapy, though unbeknownst to Jones or the fans, and the UFC was supposed to be monitoring and responsible for allowing the treatment. However, nothing was done about the test, and when it leaked at the time they made threats about the dissemination of its contents. Still, they have vehemently denied the idea that they covered anything up.
Penick’s Analysis: Pulling out of interviews to avoid questions does nothing but allow everyone else to infer as to why. It’s a bad look to have not commented on the matter whatsoever, and to demand no questions be asked on that subject. That’s not how it works. If there’s something to be asked, it should be asked. There’s no sense in agreeing to not touch a subject from the standpoint of the interviewer, especially if it’s on topic and relevant, as this situation very much still is. The fact that it’s still been largely ignored outside of a denial of a misplaced inference to something that wasn’t in the initial report makes all parties involved look bad. This here makes Belfort look even worse, and the more that happens, the more the belief is strengthened that there was wrongdoing involved into UFC 152 in the administration of his testosterone treatment.