Chris Leben Won’t Go to Bellator MMA

As barbaric as the sport of MMA might seem to some, throughout it’s history a major point of pride has been the commitment of the sport’s biggest promotions to the safety of their athletes. Today someone made the right call.

UFC and The Ultimate Fighter (Season 1) veteran Chris Leben had previously announced in February his intention to come out of retirement for their Viacom-owned opposition. The second coming of “The Crippler” was to take place after he passed physical examinations–which he did not.

Leben, who had 22 wins over 11 years, will remain in retirement after it was revealed that his heart is currently functioning at 18 percent blood flow. He has had a well-known history with drug and alcohol abuse throughout his life.

“As of now, the prognosis is mixed: one doctor believes that he should be considered for a heart transplant, while another doctor hopes that medication and a healthy lifestyle will reverse some of the damage over time,” a statement read.

Bellator President Scott Coker said separately:

“We are saddened to hear of Chris Leben’s current health situation and would have loved to see him compete inside the Bellator cage. “A fighter’s health and safety is of the utmost importance to us as an organization. We wish Chris the best in his future endeavors and we are happy to provide a platform for him to share his story with people around the world.”

Leben entered retirement after going 0-4 in the UFC between 2011-2013. His last victory was a 27-second KO of recent Bellator signee Wanderlei Silva.