In case you’ve forgotten, Chris Leben is still in the pokey. And it isn’t fun. According to Icon Sport Academy owner and unofficial Chris Leben spokesman, T. Jay Thompson, it’s downright unpleasant. Especially when time you’re spending in the hoosegow is time you’re not spending getting ready to fight in a month.
“It’s not a fun thing and it sucks for anybody to be in jail but it’s not like he’s afraid. He won’t be getting the right nutrition and workouts in but that’s his only concern,” Thompson told Inside Fighting recently.
Fair enough, but that seems like a significant concern. While Bisping is training twice a day, eating grilled chicken breasts and getting good rest, Leben is laying awake listening to the meth addict with night terrors a few cells down and thinking about how he can sneak an extra waffle at breakfast in the morning. That’s not how you want to prepare, ideally.
If that’s not enough stress for “The Crippler”, he’s still got an uncertain fate awaiting him at his hearing on Thursday. Thompson admitted that while he had reason to hope for Leben’s release after the hearing, it’s possible he may have to stay in jail.
“Yes, we knew that was always a possibility and it still is. We won’t know until his hearing on the 8th. We are talking to attorneys and we are confident that it will be okay but there are no guarantees.
“I think its part of the growing process for Chris. Everything is meant to happen for a reason and this may be one of those things put in front of him. With any challenge there is growth on other side.”
Leben is facing is a probation violation charge stemming from a DUI arrest in Oregon back in 2005. Thompson seems eager to support Leben in dealing with his “wreckage from the past,” but admits that maybe they were too optimistic to think that they could deal with it quietly.
“We didn’t tell anyone until [recently] because we felt it was a private matter, something from the past…I stupidly, maybe, thought we could keep it quiet. But of course the moment he showed up in court maybe 70% of the people in court in handcuffs knew who he was. I wish we had done a better job of maybe preparing people.”
That’s got to be a weird moment. On one hand, it’s nice to be recognized by fans. On the other, it’s not so nice to be recognized by fans in handcuffs, especially when you’re wearing a matching pair at the time.
Never fear, though. Leben is hip to the jail scene. He went in prepared.
“If you see his mug shot you see that he was wearing a big sweatshirt.,” Thompson said. “He went in wearing a big heavy hooded sweatshirt with no shirt underneath. Chris did that because he knew that you only get one shirt to sleep in jail so he dressed as comfortably as possible. I guess there are some benefits to having experience.”
Oh, the things you learn in your misspent youth. Let’s just hope he’s as prepared for Bisping. Something tells me a hooded sweatshirt isn’t going to get it done.