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UFC veteran Chris Leben signs with Bellator MMA

Scott Coker announced on Friday that UFC veteran Chris Leben has signed with Bellator MMA.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

After hinting at a return to MMA last month, UFC veteran Chris Leben officially came out of retirement and will now compete for rival promotion Bellator MMA. The promotion's President Scott Coker confirmed the news on AXS TV's Inside MMA on Friday.

However, there is one condition:

"He’s got some physicals to pass, but pending the passing of all his physicals, he’ll be a Bellator fighter," Coker said. "From the very beginning, we made a public statement that we’re looking for the best free agents that make the most sense for our roster. … We have a great roster in place, we’re building fighters from the ground up, and when the free agents we want are available, we’ll go after them, as well."

Leben (22-11) compiled a 12-10 record inside the Octagon, with notable wins over Wanderlei Silva and Patrick Cote. He stepped away from the sport in 2013 following a stoppage loss to ranked middleweight Uriah Hall, which extended his losing skid to four in a row.

Outside the cage, Leben suffered from substance abuse, was twice arrested for DUI, and has tested positive for banned substances on multiple occasions. "The Crippler" recently completed a jail sentence for possession of an assault weapon, which was linked to a June break-in involving his ex-wife.

No timetable for Leben's Bellator debut was given.

Bellator made some other bold signings recently, including the signing of former UFC lightweight champion Ben Henderson, who squares off with Andrey Koreshkov for the welterweight title later this year, and Russian heavyweight Sergei Kharitonov.