There’s never been anyone in MMA quite like Chris Leben. From his entry into the spotlight as the most volatile member of the original Ultimate Fighter cast, to his wild brawls and crazy knockouts, to his failed drug tests and subsequent departure from the sport, Leben definitely blazed his own trail.
And now he’s taken up a new occupation - MMA referee.
Leben, who recently returned to fighting by knocking out Phil Baroni in the first World Bare Knuckle Fighting Federation main event earlier this month, has apparently passed the required courses and had already reffed some MMA fights over the last year. And now he’ll work a high-profile event - Golden Boy MMA: Liddell vs. Ortiz 3.
The company streaming the card, Fite TV, confirmed Leben’s participation tonight:
Tonight #UFC veteran and @WBKFF fighter @ChrisLebenMMA will referee at @GoldenBoyBoxing #LiddellOrtiz3 Follow his YouTube channels at https://t.co/oHeuvMnoM7 and https://t.co/ZifU7ZBpFB pic.twitter.com/cqtawACPg8— FITE (@FiteTV) November 24, 2018
And here’s evidence that Leben has actually already reffed events before:
Ex-UFC fighter Chris Leben is now an MMA referee folks. This is amazing. More ex fighters need to do this. They should start Judging too. pic.twitter.com/Hwc2jDgUpc— Nick (@BitaNick) August 8, 2017
It is very good that former fighters are getting into refereeing for sure, but I didn’t think Leben would be the type of guy that was interested in that sort of thing. Obviously I was very wrong about that.
Golden Boy MMA’s preliminary fights have already kicked off, and you can watch them here on Bloody Elbow. The main card, featuring Chuck Liddell vs. Tito Ortiz 3 as the headliner, gets started at 9pm tonight.