March 19, 2012

Chris Leben: Addiction was a ‘cry for help’

Chris Leben of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is still currently serving a one-year suspension after testing positive for painkillers following a loss at UFC 138. But knee-deep in the suspension, Leben opened up March 12 about his debilitating addiction he has fought with his entire life.

In an interview on The MMA Hour, Leben explained that while there have been setbacks in his rehabilitation process since the most-recent positive drug test, he is continuing to work toward continued sobriety not just to get back into the UFC, but for his life.

The positive painkiller drug test is not the first time Leben tested positive for an illegal substance. In 2008, he tested positive for an illegal steroid after a bout held in England.

“Well I mean the truth is, I've battled drugs and alcohol, and I've battled with those for my entire life,” Leben said on The MMA hour. “I've had an issue with being addicted to painkillers for years now.

“I had some issues with my camp and it was almost a cry for help. I knew I was going to get caught and I just didn't care at the time. I'm extremely embarrassed. I feel like I let down the UFC, but at the same time I think getting caught is probably the best thing to ever happen to me. The UFC has been unbelievable. They sent me to a rehab facility and they really took care of me.”

Although in an open moment, Leben admitted he has had a slip since leaving rehabilitation. While he has not taken a painkiller, he divulged he had “more than one drink” soon after leaving. He said he knows it was a mistake, but has seen continued progress after his lapse.

There are eight months left on Leben’s UFC suspension.

To watch The MMA Hour interview with Chris Leben, click here. 

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