It was revealed recently that number one UFC middleweight contender Vitor “The Phenom” Belfort had parted ways with his coach Shawn Tompkins just a few weeks shy of his championship bout against middleweight kingpin Anderson Silva.
Now training with the crew at Xtreme Couture, Belfort came under heavy criticism from Tompkins for leaving his team; during an appearance on The Fight Show, Tompkins described Belfort as having a “clouded” mental state and being a disloyal hypocrite. The Brazilian slugger spoke about his recent split with Tompkins during a media conference call.
“I’ve been training four years, I think, at Xtreme Couture, and I feel good over there,” said Belfort. “When [Tompkins] was last there, we tried to work together, but he’s doing his thing. He was doing his team, and he wants to do it the way he wants. And I felt like I still wanted to work over there (at Xtreme Couture), but I just thought it wouldn’t have worked out. They had, like, personal issues and stuff, and I don’t take things personal. I take things professional, and I met with him and … I really talked to him, and I [said], ‘You’re going to this direction. I think for me what is better is that direction,’ and (it was) not just myself that made the decision.”
Belfort now finds himself training with Ray Sefo, his cousin Pedro Frapiuna who runs the camp, Neil Melanson and nutritionist Mike Dolce.
“I have people around me … that are really important to my life,” he said. “So it was a very easy decision. But the only thing that was hard, of course, (is that) you want things to work out. But you have to take life easy. You can’t make a big thing of things that happen.”
“The Phenom” will challenge for Silva’s middleweight strap this February 5th in the main event of UFC 126. We will see then what, if any, effect Belfort’s camp switch has on the fight.