Chris Leben: 'UFC Left Me Broken with Nothing'

Dan Hiergesell@DHiergesellFeatured ColumnistFebruary 16, 2014

USA Today

Fighters are truly a particular breed.

To understand how they think and operate, it would take a whole team of underground scientists conducting "secret" research somewhere in New Mexico.

But as private as that sort of research would be, sports is arguably the most public format in the world today.  Athletes rarely separate themselves from normal individuals when it comes to sharing their sometimes ultra-controversial thoughts.

Topics like injuries, training, compensation and the lack of organizational support erupt all the time, especially in mixed martial arts.

As the most pure form of athletic supremacy and human aggression on the planet, MMA combatants often wear their emotions on their sleeves.  Whether it's pre-fight, mid-fight, post-fight or in a private state, these brutalized competitors tend to speak their minds.

Former UFC middleweight mainstay Chris "The Crippler" Leben is no different, as his recent Twitter post suggests life after the Octagon is a monetary struggle:

Now if you remember, Leben was one of the most barbaric fighters the promotion had to offer.  Often seen gritting his teeth, spewing blood and walking through punches, the now 33-year-old Leben went to hell and back for the UFC.

But since his retirement, what has Leben been left with?

As a man who has struggled with substance abuse and personal conflict for the majority of his professional career, Leben would be the perfect candidate for a UFC retirement plan if such a thing existed.

Unlike others sports entities like the NFL, MMA organizations do not offer any sort of retirement contingency plan.

Jul 6, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Chris Leben (red gloves) and Andrew Craig (blue gloves) during their Middleweight Bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Craig won. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

Instead, fighters are squeezed for what they're worth, recycled for new talent and tossed aside like chopped liver.  There have been grumblings in the past about a pension fund for fighters, but nothing ever came to fruition.

So what does that mean for ex-warriors like Chris Leben?

Unfortunately, his financial woes fall under the "it's a dog-eat-dog world" mantra.  It's a shame because a guy like Leben should have something to show for over eight years of blood, sweat and tears.

What he spent all of his earnings on is left to the imagination, but it would be nice for a world-class bruiser like him to have a little something to fall back on.



Leben tweeted an apology for his recent comments about the UFC stating that a loss of his dog had fueled his emotions:



For more UFC news and coverage, follow @DHiergesell