Vitor Belfort: biography
The Wall Street Wolf’s namesake, Vitor Belfort, is an American-Brazilian athlete who has excelled in boxing and jiu-jitsu, karate, and mixed martial arts. The athlete has been repeatedly compared with Mike Tyson. The life of the fighter nicknamed The Phenom has had ups and downs, scandals and tragedies. Belfort believes that his primary purpose is to rejoice in every moment of life.
Childhood and youth
Vitor was born in April 1977 in the cultural capital of Brazil. The father of the future champion, Jose Belfort, was a member of the Brazilian volleyball team in the 60s; his aunt Hassia was a businesswoman. The athlete is of African, European, and Native American descent.
Although the family was prosperous (each child had a separate room), Vitor was obsessed with ideas of justice and protecting the poor and dreamed of becoming a policeman from childhood. The boy began to practice Jiu-Jitsu at the age of 9.
In his youth, Vitor was fond of swimming, motorcycle sports, volleyball, and tennis; he played for the football team of the Regatta Flamengo club, alongside with future star Juan Dos Santos. However, at the age of 15, the guy chose “sports for strong people” and a year later won the Brazilian National Jiu-Jitsu Championships and got a black belt at the age of 17.
In 1996, Belfort made his mixed martial arts debut, knocking out US rival Jon Hess in 12 seconds. The fight resembled the battle of David and Goliath because his opponent was 0.59 ft. (18 cm) taller than Vitor and weighed 244.71 lbs. (111 kg).
In 1997, the young man defeated two experienced heavyweight fighters in his debut event in the English Fighting Championship (UFC) and became the winner of the championship. The same year, Vitor beat American Wrestler Tank Abbott, nicknamed Tank, strengthening his position in the world ranking.
Randy Couture could break the string of Belfort’s triumphs. The confrontation between the UFC stars turned into epic fights because the guys fought three times, and Vitor lost twice. Other battles of The Phenom that became history include bouts with Jon Jones in 2012 (Belfort submitted via keylock) and Luke Rockhold in 2013 (Vitor knocked out the opponent via heel hook).
In 2006, they found elevated levels of testosterone in the fighter's blood. Despite Belfort's explanations that the injections, which contained the banned steroid, were prescribed by the doctor when the fighter needed to repair a torn meniscus, the athlete was fined $ 10,000 and suspended for nine months. Moreover, when the failed analysis was made, judges declared the opponent of The Phenom, Dan Henderson, a winner. In 2013 and 2015, Belfort knocked out Henderson, both times via a head kick.
Over the years, Vitor began to lose bouts more often. So, in 2015, Belfort was knocked out after a series of punches, although he opened a cut on the eyebrow of young athlete Chris Weidman. In October 2016, the fight of the Phenom with Gegard Mousasi was stopped by the judges after the attack of the fighter of Armenian-Persian descent, and judges announced Vitor’s defeat.
At the beginning of the 2000s, Belfort played himself in the series O Clone, which featured many Brazilian stars from football player Pelé to singer Alessandro Safina. In the story, Vitor wins the battle against one of the title characters of the soap opera, Xande, and steals his girlfriend.
In 2002, the charismatic athlete married a compatriot, model, and TV presenter, Joana Prado. His wife gave birth to three children: his son Davi and daughters, Vitoria and Kyara, whose birth was broadcast live on the Brazilian television show Modern Women. According to Joana, the smell of sweat arouses her husband, and he likes to bite her leg.
Family photos with Portuguese and English captions often appear on Belfort's Instagram page. The athlete also speaks French and Spanish. The favorite pet in the family is a Malinois dog (Belgian Shepherd). The fighter is a fan of the football club in which he played in his youth; he is also fond of beach volleyball and surfing.
Vitor and Joana are evangelical Christians. Belfort said in an interview that he had come to believe after a tragedy in his personal life. In early 2004, the athlete’s elder sister Priscila was kidnapped.
Vitor looked for the woman on the beaches, talked to kidnappers on Brazilian television, and also appeared in a T-shirt that said “Come back, Priscila” after a technical knockout win over Randy Couture, but it did not help. The girl’s body is still not found. Every year, on the sister’s birthday, the athlete writes a letter to Priscila, expressing his love and tenderness and telling about events in the family.
Vitor Belfort now
Nowadays, Belfort and his family live in Florida, in the town of Boca Raton. Vitor's father regularly visits his son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren, while his mother has problems with obtaining American citizenship. The weight of the athlete is 185.18 lbs. (84 kg) with a height of 6 ft. (183 cm (in his youth, Belfort competed in the heavyweight division, then moved to light heavyweight class, and later became a representative of the middleweight category). The athlete changed his hairstyle, and now Belfort has a mohawk hairdo and a cross shaved into his hair.
In May 2018, Vitor was defeated by Lyoto Machida at the UFC 224 tournament and announced the end of his sports career. However, in March 2019, Belfort signed a promotional agreement with ONE Fighting championship and challenged former boxing champion Roy Levesta Jones Jr., who began to write rap music in adulthood.
Although the black boxer, who in 2015 received Russian citizenship, has not answered yet, Vitor continues to train and promises to show a “dirty fight." In July 2019, Belfort asked commentator Joe Rogan to corner him in his ONE Championship debut.
Vitor Belfort has a net worth of $5.5 million.
- 1997 - UFC 12 Heavyweight Tournament Championship
- 2004 - UFC Light Heavyweight Championship
- 2007 - Cage Rage World Light heavyweight Championship
- 2009 - Knockout of the Night
- 2011 - Knockout of the Night
- 2013 - Knockout of the Year (World MMA Awards)
- Most knockouts in UFC history (13)
- Most first-round finishes in UFC history (14)