Chris Leben became the first high-profile fighter suspended by the Ultimate Fighting Championships for failing a drug test, when results came back positive on Monday for the steroid Stanazolol in a test administered after his three-round loss to Michael Bisping on Oct. 18 in Birmingham, England.
The UFC suspended Leben for nine months and fined him one-third of his undisclosed fight purse.
Several UFC fighters, including champions like Tim Sylvia, Sean Sherk and Josh Barnett, had been suspended and forced to relinquish their championships after positive tests administered by both the Nevada and California State Athletic Commissions.
Because UFC events held in the United Kingdom are not under the auspices of a commission, the UFC’s vice president of regulatory affairs, Marc Ratner, who for years headed the Nevada commission, performs many of the duties normally associated with an athletic commission for those events.
"I am obviously disappointed with Chris, who has made great strides getting his life back on track," said UFC president Dana White. "To his credit, he has taken responsibility for his actions and is accepting the punishment that has been handed down. But as always, the UFC puts the safety of its athletes first and foremost, and we won’t tolerate anyone using performance enhancing drugs in our organization."
"I’ve really done everything I can to turn my life around," said Leben.
"And this is a huge setback for me. But it’s something I will have to deal with. During my time off from fighting, I want to speak to kids about the dangers of using performance enhancing agents and let them know it just doesn’t get you ahead in life. Of course, this is a hard hit for me monetarily, but more so this is embarrassing for me and for all my fans."
There's not much to add here about Leben. He deserves whatever punishment he gets, but I can say it's good of the UFC to test, punish and publicize when it comes to drug testing overseas. This demonstrates a committment to transparency and accountability they are not legally obliged to follow. I applaud their efforts.