Chris Leben tested positive for two painkillers following UFC 138. | Photo: Sherdog.com
Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight Chris Leben has been suspended for one year by the Las Vegas-based organization after testing positive for banned substances.
According to a release issued Monday by UFC parent company Zuffa, LLC, Leben’s post-fight drug screen from UFC 138 came back positive for the painkillers oxycodone and oxymorphone. The remaining 19 fighters from the Nov. 5 card passed their drug tests, per the promotion.
“I like Chris and I want him to do well, but based on his actions, he’s been suspended for one year,” said UFC President Dana White in a prepared statement. “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.”
UFC 138, the main event of which saw Leben stopped after two rounds by Mark Munoz, was held at LG Arena in Birmingham, England. Since England has no sanctioning body for MMA, the UFC contracts independent companies to administer drug tests when promoting events in the country. Leben was previously suspended by the UFC in October 2008 after testing positive for the anabolic steroid stanozolol following a three-round decision loss to Michael Bisping in Birmingham.
“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, 31, stated on Monday. “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.”
Failed drug tests have not been the only turbulence for Leben in recent years. During his UFC career, the “Ultimate Fighter” alumnus has twice been arrested for driving under the influence: an April 2008 incident in Oregon and an October 2010 arrest in Hawaii.
In spite of his tribulations, Leben strung together a trio of solid wins in 2010, besting Yoshihiro Akiyama, Aaron Simpson and Jay Silva, and earning the title of Sherdog.com’s Comeback Fighter of the Year. The “Crippler” would go 1-2 in 2011, with a knockout of Wanderlei Silva sandwiched between stoppage losses to Munoz and Brian Stann.