We were half joking earlier this year when we compared Chris Leben to that screw-up brother of yours who borrows your car, gets high and then crashes it. Right now however, that assessment seems sadly apt after Leben wrecked his truck on a Hawaii freeway earlier this week and was arrested on suspicion of DUI. Again.
Here’s the word straight from the document of record, by which we mean a story from a local television station in HI: “Officers arrested Christian Leben, 30, a middleweight fighter known as the Crippler, on suspicion of operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant Tuesday. He was released from custody after posting $1,000 bail. Police say Leben was driving on the west-bound side of the H1 Freeway just before 2 AM, when he lost control of his pickup and crashed into a wall near the Kapiolani Boulevard off ramp. He was allegedly driving without a license and without insurance.”
At this point, there seems to be no appropriate response to this news aside from a resigned sigh and a disappointed shake of the head. Let’s just hope this latest brush with the law doesn’t upset Leben’s scheduled meeting with Brian Stann at UFC 125. We’d hate for this to go down like it did last time.
As you well know, Leben’s proposed fight with Michael Bisping at UFC 85 had to be postponed four months after Oregon police discovered he up and moved to Hawaii without fulfilling the requirements of his probation stemming from a 2005 DUI arrest. Leben turned himself in as an attempt to clear the matter up in time to secure a visa to travel to England for the bout, but instead was sentenced to 35 days in the Clackamas County sneezer.
That is to say nothing of what happened when Leben and Bisping actually did fight at UFC 89. “The Crippler” showed up looking like a million bucks, basically got outclassed by Bisping’s stick-and-move game plan and then tested positive for roids in the aftermath.
At the time, Leben chalked his mounting personal troubles up as a learning experience and sounded legitimately remorseful in an interview with CP just prior to fighting “The Count.” Leben said he’d matured and saw his move to Hawaii as a fresh start. As if to prove his point he went out and won three in a row (after losing to Jake Rosholt at UFC 102), including his insane two-week turnaround between victories over Aaron Simpson and Yoshihiro Akiyama.
Consider that “fresh start” effectively squandered. Leben has MMA’s most well documented drinking problem — and really, nobody else is even close — dating all the way back to his days on season one of “TUF.” Conventional wisdom says the UFC will only let him continually fuck up (again and again, punctuated by honeymoon periods of "fresh starts" and new beginnings) for so long before something must be done. Or not. There’s no telling with this company these days.