Chris Leben will come out of retirement to face fellow UFC veteran Phil Baroni in a bare knuckle match this fall.
World Bare Knuckle Fighting Federation recently announced the booking via Facebook, and Leben confirmed the news via his own social media account. The event will take place in Casper, Wyo., on Oct. 20. The card is expected to air on pay-per-view, but a venue has not been finalized.
A different promotion, Bare Knuckle FC, recently held a bare-knuckle fighting card featuring numerous MMA veterans at the Cheyenne Ice and Events Center in Cheyenne, Wyo. Fighters such as Bec Rawlings, Ricco Rodriguez, Eric Prindle, Johnny Bedford, Joey Beltran and Tony Lopez competed at that June 2 event.
Leben, 37, initially retired from MMA in 2014 following a loss to Uriah Hall in his final bout at UFC 168. “The Crippler” ended a two-year hiatus to sign with Bellator MMA in 2016, but never appeared for the promotion after being diagnosed with a condition that limited blood flow to his heart. Leben owns a 22-11 career mark in MMA that includes wins over the likes of Wanderlei Silva, Yoshihiro Akiyama, Alessio Sakara, Jorge Santiago and Patrick Cote.
Baroni, meanwhile, returned from a nearly four-year hiatus to score a 24-second stoppage of Matt Lagler at King of the Cage “Under Siege” on May 4. The 42-year-old “New York Badass” has compiled a 16-18 record while competing for promotions such as the UFC, Bellator, Strikeforce, Dream, One Championship, Pride and EliteXC over the course of a tenure that began in 2000.