(‘These walls are funny. First you hate ‘em, then you get used to ‘em…’)
Chris Leben’s time in jail may have cost him a big time bout with Michael Bisping, but it does seem to have forced him to reflect on the state of his life. It also gave him the opportunity to choke out a convicted felon. Which is, you know, good to have on your resume.
He tells the story to MMA Weekly, describing what happened when his attempts to train in jail drew the curiosity of fellow inmates, who asked Leben to teach them a choke.
“I told the guys it’s a blood choke, so you don’t have to squeeze hard,” he said. “So I was just kind of choking him with one arm while he’s standing up. And I told him just tap when you start to feel like you’re going to pass out. Well, he didn’t tap, and at the time I’m going wow, this guy’s pretty tough, I’m surprised he hasn’t tapped yet. He just drops to the floor in the cell.
“Now I’m standing there with 20 prisoners around and they’re freaking out. This guy’s laying there, snoring like crazy. I’m like ‘it’s all right, it’s all right,’ then I realize they have cameras in here. I’ve just choked this guy out in jail – I could get in trouble for this. I kept telling them, ‘he’s fine, he’s fine,’ and it took this guy a minute to wake up. Finally he woke up and we had a laugh, and luckily I didn’t get in any trouble for it. That was beginning and the ending of my inmate coaching career.”
Two things here: 1) That’s awesome, and 2) The moment where Chris chokes out an inmate and then thinks it through long enough to realize that it was probably a bad idea is, I’m going to say, emblematic of the kind of approach to life that landed him there in the first place.
To his credit, Leben seems to have enough self-awareness to admit that: