We knew something was up. After the first five minutes of his UFC 138 main event battle with Mark Munoz on Saturday, Chris Leben already looked like he was heading into the championship rounds — sucking deep breaths, his body drifting towards a Pudzianowski-esque shade of crimson. And according to a Fighters Only report, it wasn’t just trans-Atlantic jet lag or a post-Halloween candy hangover:
Chris Leben cut nearly 21 pounds in 24 hours to make weight for his fight with Mark Munoz, Fighters Only was told ahead of last night’s bout. The 31-year old middleweight had “a terrible weight cut” and was in such bad shape before the weigh ins that medical staff were keeping a very close eye on him.
A source close to Leben told Fighters Only on Friday that Leben had been left “shattered” by the amount of weight he had to cut on weigh-in day. He was in the hotel sauna from Friday morning hooded up and wearing layers of clothing as he sweated water out of his body. His dehydration and general condition was such that one of the medical team backstage said Leben would be pulled from the fight if things deteriorated any further.
Indeed, Leben was so delirious after the fight that he was drawing dicks where they didn’t really belong. So what the hell happened? Leben understood that his fight with Munoz represented a pivotal moment in his career that could have established him as a top contender in the UFC’s middleweight division. And yet, trying to cut over twenty pounds before the fight suggests that somewhere along the line, he wasn’t taking his preparation as seriously as he should have. If Leben comes out with an explanation for the epic miscalculation, we’ll let you know.