Chris Leben coming out of retirement, signs with Bellator MMA for 2016 return

By Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

Bellator MMA has signed a second former UFC fighter this week, but it won’t have quite the impact of the Benson Henderson signing.

Bellator MMA President Scott Coker announced on Friday night’s “Inside MMA” program on AXS TV that they’ve signed former longtime vet Chris Leben, who will come out of retirement to join their roster pending physicals.

Leben, who entered the UFC in 2005 as one of the breakout personalities in the first ever season of The Ultimate Fighter, retired two years ago after a loss to Uriah Hall. That loss was his fourth straight, dropping his still winning record in the Octagon to 12-10 overall. The 35-year-old cited injury risks along with the losing streak as reason for the retirement, but now he’ll return to action.

No timetable for his debut is set, but it will mark his first fight since December of 2013.

Penick’s Analysis: The signing of Benson Henderson was something to praise, this one falls more in line with them signing the upcoming Ken Shamrock-Royce Gracie fight, or booking any other number of fighters who are more name than fighter in 2016. Even Josh Koscheck was a more sensible signing, and it seems inevitable Spike and Bellator will try to book that fight given their history on the network. We shouldn’t be surprised at this point, but it’s a disconcerting signing, and I don’t know who actually wants to see him fight.

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