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Vitor Belfort Expects ‘Sparring’ Match Between Jake Paul and Mike Tyson


Count former Ultimate Fighting Championship king Vitor Belfort among those throwing cold water on the upcoming boxing spectacle between Jake Paul and Mike Tyson.

Belfort held little back when discussing the upcoming boxing match of Paul vs. Tyson. The YouTuber-turned-boxer and the former heavyweight champ will be squaring off on July 20 in Arlington, Texas, and many have debated the legitimacy of their upcoming encounter. The rules, as approved by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulations, consist of the bout lasting eight two-minute rounds, with the heavyweights wearing 14-ounce gloves. Despite this, the Texas commission has declared it will be a professional bout. Belfort, speaking to Sherdog about the matchup on Wednesday, was not a fan.

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“Sixteen-ounce gloves are used only in sparring to protect fighters,” the former champ noted. “Jake Paul and Mike Tyson will do a sparring [match] live on Netflix, making millions of dollars.”

Having left behind the sport of MMA, Belfort is also making waves in the boxing ring. He first battled Evander Holyfield in an exhibition in 2021, wiping out the heavyweight legend in the first round. He returned in 2023 against fellow elder statesman Ronaldo Souza, where he picked up a decision after six rounds of combat. His next encounter was expected to be against Brazilian boxing great Acelino Freitas, but that might not come to fruition.

“My agent just had a meeting with the FMS [Fight Music Show] owner and the fact is they don’t have money to pay me,” Belfort stated flatly. “So, it’s not a question of weight category anymore.”

Several years ago, Belfort created his own style of combat he coined ‘Boxing Martial Arts,’ which is a combination of boxing and MMA, allowing for clinching while banning leg strikes, elbows and takedowns. “The Phenom” also displayed his glove design that would be used in these BMA bouts, which appear similar to training gloves for disciplines like karate.

Belfort continued, “I don’t fight only for money. My goal is to do fights that make sense. I would love to fight with BMA rules, where boxing and MMA fighters can face each other on an equal battlefield. Imagine Anthony Joshua and Jon Jones fighting with BMA gloves where Jones is able to use his abilities in the clinch.”

At the age of 47, Belfort knows his time is limited from a competition standpoint. Most fellow competitors from his generation have hung up their gloves and are now coaching or otherwise moved on to the next stage of their lives. The few that remain, Belfort would love to fight, no matter the rule set.

Wanderlei [Silva], Anderson Silva, Fedor Emelianenko, Lyoto Machida, Nate Diaz, Darren Till, Mike Perry. Anyone of those guys would make sense,” Belfort concluded, pitching his list of preferred next opponents.
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