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Vitor Belfort confirms pre-UFC 224 knee injury; CABMMA explains why he still fought

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Lyoto Machida def. Vitor Belfort at UFC 224: Best photos

Vitor Belfort isn’t sure how news of an injury he suffered prior to UFC 224 got leaked, but that wasn’t his attention.

Late Wednesday, Brazilian media outlet Combate reported that Belfort (26-14 MMA, 15-11 UFC) injured his left knee during training camp, which was subsequently confirmed to MMAjunkie by a person with knowledge of the situation who requested anonymity.

Prior to UFC 224, however, Belfort never mentioned an injury to the Comissao Atletica Brasileira de MMA (CABMMA), which regulated this past Saturday’s pay-per-view event at Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro. Belfort went on to be knocked out by Lyoto Machida (24-8 MMA, 16-8 UFC) with a devastating front-kick to the face in the second round that earned “Performance of the Night” honors for “The Dragon.”

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The bout is expected to be Belfort’s last as he kept to his plan and announced his intention to retire afterward.

In a lengthy Instagram post Thursday, Belfort did not use his injury as an excuse for the loss.

“Winning or losing, fighting injured or not, it is part of an athlete’s life,” Belfort said. “I’m not the first one nor will be the last (athlete) to fight injured. Even though 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 (in) the UFC, in my country, my hometown, and with a such respected opponent. I gave my best (in) the fight and my opponent was the better man that night. And this is what counts!”

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For its part in allowing Belfort to fight injured, CABMMA told MMAjunkie in a statement that “The Phenom” never disclosed an injury. He “sent all the exams and passed the medical requirements to be licensed for the fight.”

“In the physical exam, where such injury should be communicated and/or identified by the physician who evaluated him, it had no information related to it,” CABMMA stated. “In the pre-fight medical held at the weigh-ins, he again did not mention, complain nor disclose such injury to the commission’s physician and, therefore, was cleared for the fight.”

You can read Belfort’s full Instagram statement below:

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…

Instagram Photo

For complete coverage of UFC 224, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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