It seems as if Bellator has signed yet another former UFC star, as President Scott Coker announced on last night’s (February 5, 2016) edition of AXS TV’S Inside MMA that previously retired middleweight slugger Chris “The Crippler” Leben has signed on with the promotion.
A TUF (The Ultimate Fighter) 1 alumni, Leben has been around the fight game for a long time, and has always been a fan favorite due to his bright red hair, and never say die fighting style.
That being said, the 35 year old hit some rough times towards the tail end of his UFC tenure. Losing four straight between 2011 and 2014, “The Crippler” last competed at UFC 168, dropping a TKO loss to Uriah Hall in which he retired soon after.
The struggles didn’t stay inside of the cage for Leben, however, as he was recently released from jail after pleading guilty to multiple charges regarding a break-in last June involving his now ex-wife. “The Crippler” has also dealt with substance issues in the past, but is now apparently clean, motivated, and hungry to fight again.
With 12 of his 22 career wins coming by way of knockout, Leben has always been a treat to watch. Some of his notable victories have come over Patrick Cote, Alessio Sakara, Yoshihiro Akiyama, and Wanderlei Silva.
Former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson also signed on with Bellator earlier this week, and it was rumored that the promotion was interested in signing free agent Alistair Overeem as well.