Chris Leben’s MMA return with Bellator MMA scrapped after serious heart condition revealed during medical exams

By Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief


Chris Leben will no longer be making an MMA comeback, and instead finds himself facing a very scary health situation moving forward.

Leben had signed with Bellator MMA earlier this year, but underwent a series of medical tests to determine whether he was healthy enough to be licensed. He wasn’t, as a very serious heart condition was revealed. According to a report from Swedish site, featuring a statement from Leben’s camp, the 35-year-old won’t ever fight again, and is going to need help moving forward.

Excerpt from the Leben camp:

Concerns were first raised when Leben failed several EKG tests during his physical examinations. He was then directed to take an echocardiogram, a sonogram of the heart. This analysis showed a life-threatening abnormality. The left ventricle of his heart is oversized, misshapen and is not operating properly. Doctors estimate that the blood flow through is heart is only 18% of what is considered normal.

Doctors immediately prescribed a combination of drugs, which they hope will prevent a catastrophic cardiac event. 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.

Doctors suspect that this serious ailment is due in large part to the fighter’s notorious hard living. Leben has suffered from extreme opiate addiction, alcoholism, and medical and psychological issues throughout his life.

The statement also addresses what Leben’s camp now says is a “dire” financial situation, and they’re pushing fans to purchase his autobiography at this link to support him.

Leben’s health issues are not the only obstacle ahead of him. Unable to earn a living as a fighter, and faced with mounting medical bills, his financial situation is dire. Leben is making ends meet as a part-time coach at The Arena MMA gym in San Diego and is studying to earn a real estate sales license, which he will hang at Keller Williams East County near San Diego.

Leben also hopes to leverage his many life lessons for the benefit of others. He plans to devote time to communicating with young people and the MMA community about the dangers of drug use and about how to cope with addiction.

Penick’s Analysis: I suppose the one benefit of what was kind of a ridiculous signing to begin with is that he was put through these exams and that this was caught. The financial situation he’s facing is certainly unfortunate, and that’s obviously why he was looking to fight again after more than two years out of action, but this story could have ended on a much sadder, darker note.

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1 Comment on Chris Leben’s MMA return with Bellator MMA scrapped after serious heart condition revealed during medical exams

  1. Damn, that’s too bad.
    Not that I wanted to see him fight again, mind you. I’m actually happy that we won’t have to witness him take anymore brain damaging beatings. Which he was bound to do because he’s a shot fighter. Has been for a long time now.
    But, his health issues are really unfortunate.
    Though I think people ought to live how they choose to live as long as they’re not harming others, this is yet more proof that crack kills man. Crack kills.

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