UFC 138 Drug Test Failure Lands Chris Leben a One-Year Suspension (UPDATE)

November 28, 2011
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The Ultimate Fighting Championship on Monday revealed that middleweight standout Chris Leben tested positive for Oxycodone and Oxymorphone following his loss to Mark Munoz on Nov. 5 in the UFC 138 main event in Birmingham, England.

There is no athletic commission to oversee mixed martial arts events in England, so the promotion polices itself under the supervision of former executive director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission Marc Ratner, who is now UFC Vice President of Regulatory Affairs.

As a result of the positive test, the UFC suspended Leben for one year.

“I like Chris and I want him to do well, but based on his actions, he’s been suspended for one year,” UFC president Dana White said. “If he needs professional help, we are going to be there for him. We want to see him succeed not only in the Octagon, but in his personal life.”

“I would like to make it known that I fully accept this suspension and apologize for embarrassing the UFC, my friends and family, and the sport of mixed martial arts,” Leben said. “I’m learning that I’m my own worst enemy sometimes. I can’t succeed in the Octagon or in life behaving this way. I’ve got to make some real changes over the next year and I’m going to focus on getting my life and career back on track. Again, I’m sorry to the UFC and fans that’ve supported me since my days on The Ultimate Fighter.”

Leben has been in and out of trouble over the course of his career, arrested for an alleged DUI, and has tested positive for Stanozolol, a steroid.

UFC officials noted that the remaining 19 fighters on the UFC 138 fight card all passed their post-fight drug tests.

UPDATE: UFC officials confirmed to MMAWeekly.com on Tuesday that Leben will face the suspension, but was not fined for his infraction.

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  • KBEsq

    Wow, that’s too bad. I wonder if it was recreational or if he was in pain for something.

    • MrAdidas

      By Dana’s comments, I’d suspect he has a pain killer problem/addiction. Hard to think differently when Dana says… “If he needs professional help, we are going to be there for him”. Really though, did he really think the OXY’s wouldnt show up on his test or…?

      Hopefully he can get some much needed help!

    • lonniebatt

      Mr. KBEsq I really Like Chris but the answer to your question is that class of painkillers are hard to obtain it is used for cancer patients and others that are in a stage of Crinic pain that it is needed I hate to say this but he has no reason to have a power full drug like those.. it sure is a shame I hope it prevails…

    • lonniebatt

      Mr.KBEsq I like Chris alot having said that the answer to your question is thise type of Pain Meds are used for Cancer patients that are in their latre stages and used for paitents that are in the worst type of chronic pain, Chris most likely isnt that those stages therefore he has no reason to have those types of meds and even so all he had to do is make the UFC aware of what kind of Perscriptions that he has been perscribed and this wouldnt be an issue…. it sure is a shame, he but hes human…

  • bajafox

    Damn that sucks, I was really starting to like him too.

    At least he didn’t deny it

  • Damn it. That’s a dark place to be, hope he can pull through it.

    • lonniebatt

      me too, it is obivious that Dana likes him because this isnt the first he has tested positive for a controlled subsatnce, Marquart was axed after he second offence…

  • MikeMc1983

    I was wondering if anyone knows the rule. Can a fighter not have oxy in their system at all, or is he allowed to if it’s prescribed?I haven’t been able to find the answer to that so if anyone knows I will thank you in advance for your response.

    • I’m sure there are some exceptions (TRT/HRT for example) but as I understand it, if it’s on the banned substance list you’re not allowed to have it in your system.

      Take Tim Credeur for instance. He had a fight canceled a couple years ago for admitting during the pre-fight medicals that he’d been using prescription Adderall. Adderall is on the banned substance list in Nevada so they drug tested him and it was still in his system. As a result, the fight was cancelled. He didn’t face any disciplinary action because he disclosed the drug use during the pre-fight medical checks and was able to produce the supporting documents from his physician.

      • MikeMc1983

        In that case being an athlete can be that much of a harder gig. I understand the steroid stuff, and I know pain killers could help performance as well. (well, they could hurt, and help in different ways)
        Not being allowed some of the stronger pain killers could be rough, seeing how some of these guys go through some rough stuff.

        • MrAdidas

          They are aloud to take the pain killers after their fights or anytime b4 their shceduled fights, as long… as long as it’s no longer in their system while they fight/when they get tested after the fight.

    • lonniebatt

      You are right if he has been perscribed then he would be fine but that type of pain medicine I know that Chris would not get a doctor in the word that would perscribe it to him, those meds are only given to patients in late stages of Cancer and others that are so debilitaed that it is the only kind that may provide some type of comfort. I do not think chris being a world class athelete would definantely need what a shame I really like him too… I wish him well

  • trevor

    Stanazolol is winstrol its a leaning steroid that puts on muscle. Definitely not recreational.

  • Ooops. Since he already apologized, he can uses his year off to free himself of his dependency.

  • Albert

    Like most MMA fans, I like Leben, however, this positive test casts a dark cloud over his entire career.

    If you watched the Mark Kerr documentary, “Smashing Machine” you will get some clues about how fighters using pain killers as performance enhancements.

    Obviously pain tolerance and inhibition /stress reduction are major assets for fighting. Leben’s career has been marked by these 2 factors. In fact, looking back on his career, all of his success in fights can be attributed to either or both of these abilities.

    I think putting a “recreational drug use” spin on this is a way for him to gain sympathy and detract from any idea that he was cheating to gain an edge. I want to think his career was legit, but it just feels like when a home run hitter is discovered to have been using HGH or steroids.

    The most damning evidence is that if he used Stanazolol (an illegal steroid) in the past, then he is clearly not above cheating to gain an edge. And in MMA, an “advantage” might mean the end of an honest fighter’s career.

  • ken

    I have been on pain killers for a long time and they are far from performance enhancements people are forgetting his past few fights he passed drug tests to compare him with kerr is crazy kerr was a self admitted junkie!a person can be prescribed opiates for muscle tears pretty much alot of sports injuries!keep in mind these drugs are controled in the usa the most due to abuse!I believe his 1 year suspension is too harsh assuming it was taken for pain relief and not getting high.the fact is these fighters are human they feel pain just like us!They are expected to fight to pay the bills.he dont fight he dont eat!problem is he should have pulled out of the fight if he was injured!it could also be that he was trying to hide injury from dana white who would have pulled him from card!only chris knows why he did it!maybe he is his own worst nightmare!