UFC Flags Leben for Steroid Use

By Sherdog.com Staff Nov 3, 2008
The UFC on Monday suspended middleweight Chris Leben for nine months following a positive test for use of the anabolic steroid Stanozolol.

Yahoo Sports writer Dave Meltzer was the first to report of the suspension, followed by a release posted at UFC.com.

The positive result, which came from an independent test administered by the promotion, followed Leben’s unanimous decision defeat to Michael Bisping in the featured bout at UFC 89 on Oct. 18 in Birmingham, England. As part of his punishment, Leben will forfeit one-third of his purse.

Since no regulatory body exists for mixed martial arts in the UK, the UFC performs its own independent testing at events held there. When asked whether or not the Nevada State Athletic Commission planned to recognize Leben’s nine-month suspension, NSAC Executive Director Keith Kizer said the commission would confront the issue if and when the need arose.

“If we had proof of [a positive test], whether it be from a regulatory body, a promotion or another third party,” Kizer said, “I’m sure this would be something the commission would want to look into.”

Kizer said that Leben would likely have to submit a clean pre-fight test when he registered to fight in Nevada again.

The nine-month suspension mirrors those handed down by the NSAC to Stephan Bonnar, Pawel Nastula and Vitor Belfort, all of whom failed drug tests in the state in 2006.

UFC President Dana White chastised Leben in a released statement on Monday but credited the 28-year-old for facing the music.

“I am obviously disappointed with Chris, who has made great strides getting his life back on track,” White told UFC.com. “To his credit, he has taken responsibility for his actions and is accepting the punishment that has been handed down. As always, the UFC puts the safety of its athletes first and foremost, and we won’t tolerate anyone using performance-enhancing drugs in our organization.”

Leben is just the second UFC fighter to flunk an independent test since the promotion returned to the UK in 2007. Anthony Torres, a cast member on season two of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series, was flagged for suspected use of the anabolic agent Boldenone after his technical knockout loss to Jess Liaudin at UFC 75. Torres was released from his contract soon after.

Much was made of Leben’s physical transformation in the weeks leading up to his bout with Bisping. A former member of Team Quest who has relocated to Hawaii, Leben showed up for the fight with a noticeably improved physique.

“I’ve really done everything I can to turn my life around, and this is a huge setback for me, but it is something I will have to deal with,” Leben told UFC.com. “During my time off from fighting, I want to speak to kids about the dangers of using performance-enhancing agents and let them know it just doesn’t get you ahead in life.”
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