Vitor Belfort Opens Up On Past Mistakes
Vitor Belfort became a UFC champion way back in 2004 but his career began to plummet during his later years. After losing to Chris Weidman at UFC 187 in 2015, whilst challenging for the middleweight title, the Brazilian southpaw won just two of his last six fights within the company.
This run of bad form led Belfort to retire in 2018 and he hasn’t competed since. Now, in an interview with MMA Fighting, Vitor explained that his passion for fighting began to disappear as he fought out the end of his final UFC contract.
“I think I kind of violated the commitment with myself. My fire was not there, and I was living through other people’s fire, trying to say, ‘I’ll get the fire back if I hire this coach,’ or ‘I’m gonna get this guy if I do that.’ And I was always doing something to try and bring the fire back.”
ONE Championship Debut
Belfort believes that retirement was the right option for him at that time but he now plans to end his 24 month hiatus with his debut fight in ONE Championship against Alain Ngalani. Before he signed with ONE last year, the former UFC light heavyweight champion had to prepare for the sacrifices needed to resume competition.
“Before I signed, I had to feel that way. So I didn’t sign and then feel that way. You cannot get married to start loving your wife. You cannot have your kid to say, ‘Oh, now I’m gonna be a dad.’ Listen carefully to what I’m saying. You cannot be a dad waiting for your kid to be born to say, ‘Okay, now I have responsibility.’ That decision you’ve got to make before you make your child.
“So I recommend to everyone, whether you’re in financial or marketing or any type of endeavor you’re looking forward to becoming an entrepreneur, I believe success comes out of sacrifice.”
Four Decades Of Fighting
Belfort has now been a professional MMA fighter for over twenty years. This puts him in an elite club of fighters that have seen action across four separate decades. Others in this prestigious group of veterans include, Alistair Overeem and Aleksei Oleinik.
“It’s amazing, I’m a grandpa. I’m the grandpa for the sport. I can’t wait. To tell you the truth, it’s a rebirth. It’s my last dance. This is gonna be my last dance as an athlete. I’m always gonna be involved, I always want to help as much as I can, especially in all the markets of Asia, the markets in South America. I believe in the Indian market. I want to really be able to educate kids and help coaches, help athletes, be able to create a mentorship. I’m really thinking of creating a seminar where I can really help fighters. I want to create a sense of a financial part for the athletes, creating the emotional part for the athletes.
“The emotional part is how to deal with fear, decisions, how to say, ‘no,’ and when you sign that big contract to be able to say, ‘No, I’m not gonna do that, because it’s against what is right.’ And the third part is dealing with all the management and coaches and all these people. What’s the best decision? How can I manoeuvre in these areas? I think fighters are still being exposed, and they don’t understand they’re just a product. But they have a passion to fight for this organisation or to become world champion, so basically they start doing whatever they can, and they are violating things that can cost them in the future.”
‘You Can Only Speak For Yourself’
Vitor’s career has had its fair share of ‘ups and downs’. From claiming UFC gold at UFC 46 against Randy Couture, to substance abuse suspensions at the dawn of the USADA era. The ‘Phenom’ now wants to put the record straight.
“I learned one thing, you can only speak for yourself. You can never speak for somebody’s behalf. I know I’ve made bad decisions in the past. I did things that I’m not supposed to do in the past. I think a lot of times I was not acting the way I was supposed to act before. I realise all that. I realise that I was not maybe nice with someone I’m supposed to be before. But I can only speak about myself.
“If you knew me a year before, or you knew me since I was a kid, the people that know me today, they have an advantage over the people that have known me for a long time. The Bible says that one day is like a thousand, a thousand is like one day. So you can grow so much in one day or you decide to not grow in a thousand days. It’s your decision.”
How do you think Vitor Belfort will do in his ONE Championship debut against Alain Ngalani?