Sadly, former UFC fighter Chris Leben won’t be making a comeback from retirement in the Bellator organization after all as doctors have discovered that he has a serious heart condition.
The 35 year-old Leben had recently been unveiled as a new signing for Bellator, but the deal was pending a physical examination which troublingly revealed that he has a “life threatening” heart abnormality, with his left ventricle being “oversized, misshapen and not operating properly.”
The effect of this is that Leben’s heart is only getting 18% of the blood that you’d normally expect to see.
As a result Leben has quickly been put on a series of drugs that doctors hope will keep him from having a serious cardiac event in the mean time, while there’s now some debate as to how to treat him going forward.
“As of now, the prognosis is mixed: one doctor believes that he should be considered for a heart transplant, while another doctor hopes that medication and a healthy lifestyle will reverse some of the damage over time,” a statement from Bellator said.
Leben has a well documented history with drug and alcohol abuse as documented in his recent autobiography, ‘The Crippler: Cage Fighting And My Life On The Edge’ and unfortunately it appears that could well be a factor in the serious health issue he’s now facing.
To make matters worse, Leben has received this life-changing news at a time when he’s reported to be in a “dire” financial situation, but he is working as a part-time MMA coach at Arena MMA and is looking to get a real estate license in San Diego.
“Leben says that he is grateful to the fans, friends and family that have been there for him throughout his life and career,” Bellator’s statement says. “He will continue to fight the good fight, and has confidence that strict dedication to nutrition and wellness will allow him to succeed in this battle.”