UFC 224 took place over the weekend inside the Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro with two home-grown veterans in former champions in Lyoto Machida and Vitor Belfort squaring off in front of the Brazilian crowd.
After a round of feeling each other out, Machida landed a laser-like kick to the face of Belfort, knocking him out cold in the second round. It signalled the end of the The Phenom’s UFC tenure as he left his gloves inside the Octagon and farewelled his fans.
While some fans will be sad to see the manner in which Belfort departed the UFC, there’s one fighter who isn’t sympathising for him.
Former middleweight champion Michael Bisping, who was knocked out by Belfort in January 2013, took aim at the Brazilian’s checkered past with his much publicised use of performance enhancing substances. During a recent edition of his “Believe You Me” podcast, “The Count” made his feelings clear (via BJPenn.com):
“It’s very satisfying to see him lose if I’m honest. I don’t care for the guy. I think he’s built a career off being a cheat. The amount of insane steroids over his life, over his career, is evident to see. I mean you go back and look at his early career, the guy was insanely jacked. When we fought he was insanely jacked, and now you look at him and he looks like a f*cking beat up old man. And he’s getting knocked out like so and performing like so.”
In that fight in January 2013, Belfort earned a second-round TKO victory and Bisping suffered an injury to his right eye. The injury required multiple surgeries and as a result he now deals with strabismus, which is a condition where the eyes don’t properly align with each other.
While injuries are an everyday occurrence in MMA, this fight occurred during the period when Belfort was allegedly on testosterone replacement therapy, which presumably gave him a physical advantage over his opponent.
Bisping has learned to live with the condition and even went on to claim the UFC middleweight belt.