UFC Still Supporting Chris Leben After All Of His Problems
USA Today (via MMA Junkie) reports that UFC is still supporting Chris Leben, even after his various drug issues that he was caught for before his middleweight fight with Mark Munoz at UFC 138.
Leben talked about why he did the drugs even though he knew he would get caught. He said: “I did it anyway. I was sick.“
Leben has had difficulties with steroids and prescription painkillers for years. Even after being arrested for driving under the influence and being suspended for the drugs, the UFC supported him even while other fighters were let go for smaller offenses.
Leben (22-8 MMA, 12-7 UFC) will make his UFC return after a positive test for Oxycontin in November 2011 at UFC 155 on Saturday against Derek Brunson (9-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC).
Leben said: “I want to remind everybody who I am and what kind of force I am inside the octagon.“
UFC President Dana White revealed that he’s kept Leben around because “he’s a guy I like and respect.”
White added: “He’s had personal problems for a long time that he’s had to deal with, but I don’t consider this a second or third chance or anything like that. He’s always exciting, and people like watching him fight, including me.“
Instead of firing him after his last failed drug test, he was sent to a 30-day rehab program. After that, Leben had regular outpatient counseling sessions. He said: “It’s a one-day-at-a-time sort of thing. It doesn’t matter how far down the road you are, we’re all the same distance from the ditch. I know what happens in my life when I drink. I know how fast things destruct for me.“
He said that while the cravings for alcohol and drugs are still there, “looking back, my intake really reflected how well I was doing in my personal life.” He says he’s sober and has changed his approach to fighting. He added: “When I first started this sport, my motivation was proving that I was tough and I was worth something.“