Vitor Belfort explains why he fought through injury at UFC 224

Vitor Belfort

Earlier this month, MMA legend Vitor Belfort stepped into the UFC’s Octagon for a final time, taking on fellow Brazilian legend Lyoto Machida. He did so on the main card of UFC 224, which went down in his hometown of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In the end, this fight with Machida went disastrously for Belfort, as he was knocked out by a brutal kick to the face — the same kick Anderson Silva famously used to put him down years ago.

Shortly after this loss, news surfaced that Vitor Belfort had entered the cage at UFC 224 with a fairly significant injury. On Friday, Belfort took to Instagram to explain why he fought through this injury, rather than withdrawing from the fight and attempting to reschedule.

With the intention to be as honest as I can be with my fans and specially with my opponent, I will go straight to the point. The injured that happened with me during the training camp somehow made the news. My team nor I had mentioned before, during or after the fight. Winning or losing, fighting injured or not; it is part of an athlete’s life. I’m not the first one nor will be the last one athlete to fight injured. Even though all the limitations imposed to me because of the injured I suffered. It is my decision to step into the octagon or not. And I decided to do it! I did not want to miss the chance to have my last fight at the UFC; in my country, my hometown and with a such respected opponent. I gave my best on the fight and my opponent was the better man that night. And this is what counts! Nothing that happened with me during the training camp takes anything away from his victory. Of course wasn’t the outcome I wished for. Not because of the defeat, because we can’t control the outcome. What bothers me is knowing that I performed bellow of what I know that I can. I literally grew up in the cage, I was wrought to be a fighter, to leave it all in the cage… and this teachings I brought to all the aspects of my life. Dedicated every minute, every second doing the best you can in whatever you’re committed to. To the ones genuinely concerned with me, I will tell you this: I feel like an injured Lion. To the haters and envious, I will tell you this: I might be injured, BUT I’M STILL A LION! See you all very soon…

A post shared by Vitor "The Phenom" Belfort (@vitorbelfort) on

“With the intention to be as honest as I can be with my fans and specially with my opponent, I will go straight to the point,” Belfort said in his post (edited for clarity). “The injury that happened with me during the training camp somehow made the news. My team nor I had mentioned before, during or after the fight. Winning or losing, fighting injured or not; it is part of an athlete’s life. I’m not the first nor will be the last athlete to fight injured. Despite all the limitations imposed on me because of the injury I suffered, it is my decision to step into the octagon or not. And I decided to do it! I did not want to miss the chance to have my last fight at the UFC; in my country, my hometown and with a such respected opponent. I gave my best on the fight and my opponent was the better man that night. And this is what counts! Nothing that happened with me during the training camp takes anything away from his victory. Of course it wasn’t the outcome I wished for. Not because of the defeat, because we can’t control the outcome. What bothers me is knowing that I performed bellow the level I know that I can. I literally grew up in the cage, I was wrought to be a fighter, to leave it all in the cage… and this teachings I brought to all the aspects of my life. Dedicate every minute, every second doing the best you can in whatever you’re committed to. To the ones genuinely concerned with me, I will tell you this: I feel like an injured lion. To the haters and envious, I will tell you this: I might be injured, BUT I’M STILL A LION! See you all very soon…”

What do you think of these comments from Vitor Belfort?

This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 5/21/2018.