Former UFC middleweight fighter Chris Leben is hanging on to dear life as he faces a serious heart condition and was not cleared to fight again.
Former UFC middleweight fighter Chris Leben is hanging on to dear life.
In an interview with The Luke Thomas Show (transcripts via MMA Fighting) Leben revealed that he failed a battery of medical tests and was no longer cleared by Bellator MMA to go on fighting.
“Basically, I was doing my pre-fight stuff. I failed the EKG, so I took four more, continued to fail as my left ventricle was putting out too much electricity. They did a cardio-ecogram where they went in and actually look. They do an ultrasound of your heart while it’s pumping. Unfortunately, my left ventricle is oversized, misshapen and not pumping correctly. It’s pumping at 18 percent, which I’m told is not a good thing,” said Leben.
“You know, that’s the crazy thing. I’ve never felt better. That was the big thing about this comeback was I’m off the Suboxone, I’m off the medications the doctors have given me. I’m 100 percent drug, alcohol-free and eating healthy. I’m in the gym, I’m beating up all the 20-year-olds. I’m a little leaner than I used to be and I’m back to eating meat again, but that’s great for fighting.”
“I was doing awesome. I would come in the morning, I’d do jiu-jitsu with Baret Yoshida, then I’d come and do my kickboxing with Vince, then I’d do go over Andy and do my strength and conditioning, so three hours in the morning and I was back for team practice at night.”
However, despite his heavy work regimen, the doctors were concerned that he was having difficulties in doing simple tasks like walking up the stairs.
“The doctors were like, ‘You don’t have a problem walking up these stairs?’ That’s the way they’re looking at it. They’re blown away that I’m performing the way that I am, that I can do the things I can do with my heart because it’s just not pumping the blood and apparently that’s an important thing. It’s definitely extremely frustration.”
“Stroke, heart attack, yeah. Heart failure is actually the condition. Basically, my heart is failing. It’s got dead tissue on it, it’s oversized. There’re plethora of reasons this can happen. It happens more commonly to athletes.”
“They’re not saying it’s linked to alcohol or anything like that, but my guess is I train my ass off when I’m in the gym. I never miss a day in the gym, but for a long time, I also took advantage of the nightlife as well. So, I’m kinda burning the candle from both ends for years. I think my heart just couldn’t take it.”
Photo courtesy: Fights Day