Chris Leben disappoints

by: Jack Bratcher

Those who watched UFC 89 were bound to notice the improved physique of one Chris Leben. His main event bout against Michael Bisping was an inspiring performance where he looked calm and relaxed and constantly pushed the pace throwing the bombs he’s known for. However, Bisping out-pointed the Hawaiian transplant with a defensive, elusive and tactical gameplan.

Much ado was made recently about Leben maturing as a fighter and as a person. Gone are the days of the self-destructive alcoholic punker spritzing on the pillows of his fellow TUF cast members. “Maturity” was the new catch word for Leben. Apparently, he’s moved on and picked up some new more “adult” vices.

According to the UFC website, Leben has tested positive for the anabolic agent stanozolol following his October 18th loss to Michael Bisping at UFC 89 in England.

As a result of the positive test, Leben will be suspended from fighting for nine months and must forfeit one-third of his main event purse.

“I am obviously disappointed with Chris, who has made great strides getting his life back on track,” said UFC President Dana White. “To his credit, he has taken responsibility for his actions and is accepting the punishment that has been handed down. But as always, the UFC puts the safety of its athletes first and foremost, and we won’t tolerate anyone using performance enhancing drugs in our organization.”

Credit should be given to the UFC for implementing independent drug tests when they hold cards in the U.K. and overseas since there is no worldwide Athletic Commission to regulate MMA. They not only did the testing but punished Leben and made the results public and they should be applauded for this.

Nothing good can come from MMA fighters resorting to steroids. It sends the wrong message to the media, the fans, and to young up and coming fighters who look to these veterans as role models. These guys are learning how to use the steroids and most likely it’s from a veteran who came before them. It’s a legacy and an inheritance that began back in the old days when there were no weight classes and guys would use any advantage they could find. Those days are gone. Not that there ever was a need for steroids, but now there’s not even an excuse.

Leben said, “I’ve really done everything I can to turn my life around, and this is a huge setback for me, but it is something I will have to deal with. During my time off from fighting, I want to speak to kids about the dangers of using performance enhancing agents and let them know it just doesn’t get you ahead in life. Of course this is a hard hit for me monetarily, but more so this is embarrassing for me and for all of my fans. I apologize to the UFC and everyone who supported me in my fight in England. I hope to work through this and get back to fighting soon.”

Every other fighter on the UFC 89 card all passed their pre and post fight drug tests.

Leben is the one who will have to go and face his students.  As a mentor they admire, trying to look these young people in the eye will most likely be the next battle “the Crippler” faces.

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