Dana White Carefully Considering How Best to Handle Chris Leben After Recent Loss

July 13, 2013
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UFC138_MunozLeben_004Since becoming an inaugural member of The Ultimate Fighter reality show, Chris “The Crippler” Leben has amassed quite a career in the UFC.

Debuting in the company in 2006, he has gone on to have 21 fights inside the Octagon.  In 2010, the Oregonian defeated Aaron Simpson and perennial top-ten fighter Yohihiro Akiyama in the span of just 14 days He knocked out Simpson at The Ultimate Fighter 11 Finale on June 19, earning the Knockout of the Night honors, and then dispatched of Akiyama on July 3 at UFC 116 on July 3, earning the Fight of the Night award.

Since that win over Akiyama, Leben has gone 1-4 in the world’s premier fighting organization.  Most recently, the Crippler suffered a split-decision loss to Andrew Craig at Saturday’s UFC 162, marking his third loss in a row.

Over his career, Leben has been known as a knockout artist who will do anything to please his adoring fans.  His strike-first mentality has certainly been costly in defeat, but it is also that mindset that has undoubtedly extended his career in the eyes of UFC president Dana White – a man who is quick to see the bottom dollar in anything business related.

On Saturday night, after suffering his third loss in a row, White chimed in on Leben’s situation in the UFC.

“His fight style is not healthy for him,” said White. “He’s getting up there in age, and the big layoffs don’t help him either.”

Unfortunately, Leben’s career has been marred by personal and professional controversy.  The 32-year-old has spent years battling substance abuse problems, having once tested positive for steroids after his battle with Michael Bisping at UFC 89, and then later testing positive for painkillers after his fight with Mark Munoz at UFC 138.  These company problems have also been magnified by legal troubles outside the cage, including an arrest over suspicion of DUI in 2010.

When pressed on Leben’s future in the company and his personal issues, White stated that he had to think about the situation in depth, as Leben is someone he admittedly “loves.”

“I don’t know. I have to figure that one out too,” White said with a deep exhale.  “I have to figure out what I think is best for him – and I know people hate when I say that,” he continued. “But I want Leben to get up every day and be a part of society and have to do something.”

White summed up Leben’s situation with a poignant to those who have followed the middleweight’s career for the last seven years.

“Chris Leben has a personality that could go off the deep end very easily, in a lot of negative ways. I really care about the kid. I like him a lot. I love the kid. I have to figure this thing out.”

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  • Milosc

    Just who is Leben supposed to fight now? (Good thing they fired Jon Fitch– this being ‘a business’ and all.. )

    Too bad Leonard Garcia wasn’t a little heavier. Maybe call up Sakara again and make them do an X-arm match, with Chael Sonnen fighting the winner for a pleather belt

  • Those last two fights were pretty tough fights. I can see Bellator scooping him up. He’s been around so long and made a great name for himself but these things happen. This fight game doesn’t last long for everybody. Especially when you want to slug it out every fight. He did a smart thing in opening his own gym out in Oahu, so at least he has that if he decided to retire.


    UFC can give him someone like Riki Fukuda, Nick Ring, or Chris Camozzi. IF he wins he stays if he loses off to Bellator? IF he wins then maybe Roger Gracie or Rich Franklin next??

    • Supaman

      Camozzi is a joke. Fukuda & Ring would be interesting fights.

      Cung Le would be a fun one. Cung should like it too since Leben is a big name and would stand & trade w/ him.

      Boetsch is coming off a loss. Luke Rockhold?

      Franklin is about finished. He’s already thinking retirement and may have 1-2 fights left and I doubt he wants to waste that on Leben.

  • Patriot

    Who else is left in the UFC from season one? If you had to pick someone with staying power back then you likely wouldn’t have picked Leben.

  • christopher Breuer

    I would like to see him fight Mike Swick another season 1 guy and a rematch from like eight nine years ago.

  • Ronal Yuan Humphrey

    Koscheck rematch sounds in order

  • seattlesean

    rematch against wanderlei silva