by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com
Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran Chris Leben has accepted a position as Head MMA Instructor at the new ICON Fitness gym on Oahu, Hawaii. The gym is under the ownership of ICON Sport fight promoter T.Jay Thompson.
Following his fight with fellow Ultimate Fighter veteran Kalib Starns at UFC 71 in Las Vegas, Nev., Leben laid out his plans as a coach, “I’m going to start coaching at a gym out in Hawaii. ICON Sport is opening a gym out on Oahu and I’m going to be the head coach out there. So, as soon as my fight is over, I’m going to be hanging out in Hawaii and training.”
“T.Jay from ICON called me up and talked to me,” continued Leben. “We worked out a great deal. There’s a bunch of guys to train with over there and Matt Hume is going to be coming over to work with me, as well.”
With less than a year left on his original Ultimate Fighter contract, MMAWeekly Radio co-host Jeff Cain asked about the possibility that we might see Leben fighting for ICON Sport in the future.
“Absolutely,” said Leben. “I hate to say it, but I’m counting the days on my contract… because then I’m going to be able to cash in with this contract because I signed a contract on the show [The Ultimate Fighter]. I just got a raise. I’m up to like $10,000 and $10,000 now after like 8 fights in the UFC.”
“There’s going to be people that want to pay me a lot more money and hopefully the UFC will realize how great I’ve been for them and step up to the plate,” continued Leben. “And if they do, I’ll stay with the UFC, obviously. But if they don’t, I’ll go fight in ICON Sport and make some money and bring some attention to that show.”