Today’s WTF news comes courtesy of Bellator MMA. On Saturday, the UFC’s biggest rival announced the signing of troubled veteran Chris Leben (pictured) to a multi-year contract.
Leben announced his retirement from mixed martial arts 25 months ago after dropping his fourth straight fight. “The Crippler” inexplicably quit on the stool after getting battered by Uriah Hall for five minutes at UFC 168.
Now 35, Leben looks to collect another paycheck. I mean, he got the itch to step back in the cage again after coaching rejuvenated him.
“Focusing on just coaching at Victory MMA has been amazing, but recently, I started to get the itch to compete again,” Leben said. “So I extended an olive branch to the people at Bellator and here I am. I’m in great shape, I love the possible matchups this roster has to offer and I’m ready to show the world why they call me ‘The Crippler.’”
Leben, who emerged onto the UFC scene as a contestant on the original “The Ultimate Fighter,” hangs up his MMA gloves with a 22-11 professional record. He lost five of his last six scraps.
“If I were to draw up the prototypical Bellator MMA competitor, there would be parts of Chris [Leben] in there,” Bellator MMA President Scott Coker said. “The guy has never had a boring fight and as I’ve said from day one, we’re going to continue to grow from the ground up and buy from the top down. I know that Chris still has a lot of fight left in him and I’m excited to see him fight We are hoping to see his Bellator debut this Spring.”
Leben’s signing comes less than a week after Bellator brought former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson on board. At the time, Coker claimed Henderson’s addition was “just the tip of the iceberg.”