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And Now He’s Retired (Again): Severe Heart Condition Ends Chris Leben’s Bellator Return Before It Begins

Chris Leben UFC interview

If you were one of the almost everyone who thought that nothing good could come of Chris Leben’s unretirement, then boy do we have some good news for you. And by good news, we of course mean “somehow even more terrible news.”

The longtime UFC veteran, who called an end to his 11-year career back in January of 2014 only to sign with Bellator last month, has recently been forced out of his promotional debut according to MMAJunkie…and not for the reasons you might think.

Chris Leben is no longer coming out of retirement to fight for Bellator after doctors found a severe medical condition that left him with just 18 percent of normal blood flow to his heart.

Leben signed with Bellator this past month and was undergoing a physical in order to be cleared for a spring return when he failed several electrocardiogram (EKG) tests, according to the statement sent out by Leben’s management team. Doctors discovered a “life-threatening abnormality” to the left ventricle of his heart, which was “oversized,” “misshapen,” and “not operating properly.”

A combination of life-saving drugs was immediately prescribed to Leben in hopes of preventing “a catastrophic cardiac event.”

Yes, it appears that Leben’s well-documented struggles with alcohol and substance abuse have finally caught up to him in the worst way possible. And it gets worse.

“As of now, the prognosis is mixed: one doctor believes that he should be considered for a heart transplant, while another doctor hopes that medication and a healthy lifestyle will reverse some of the damage over time,” the statement read.

In either case, it’s safe to say that we won’t be seeing Leben fighting again, unless the vultures over at Venator FC sign him. As big fans of the guy, we’d like to wish a smooth recovery to Leben in what may very well turn out to be the biggest fight of his life. Sometimes it takes a wake-up call as big as this to truly open someone’s eyes to the issues facing them, and we hope that this will certainly be the case for the much-troubled TUF alum.

If the statement sent out by his management team is to be believed, it looks like Leben will face his latest setback head-on.

“Leben says that he is grateful to the fans, friends and family that have been there for him throughout his life and career. He will continue to fight the good fight, and has confidence that strict dedication to nutrition and wellness will allow him to succeed in this battle.”

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