Chris Leben Talks About Prison Stint


Photo courtesy of ChrisLeben.com.

In an interesting interview with MMA Weekly, Chris Leben, who spent twenty days in a Portland, Oregon jail last month to serve a mandatory sentence because of a probation violation stemming from a DUI arrest three years ago, speaks out about his time spent behind bars. Pretty entertaining read.

Being a pretty well-known fighter and with the interest in MMA among the general public growing more and more every day, you’d think that Leben’s fellow inmates would probably ask him to show them some stuff, right? Well that’s exactly what happened:

“I told the guys it’s a blood choke, so you don’t have to squeeze hard,” he said. “So I was just kind of choking him with one arm while he’s standing up. And I told him just tap when you start to feel like you’re going to pass out. Well, he didn’t tap, and at the time I’m going wow, this guy’s pretty tough, I’m surprised he hasn’t tapped yet. He just drops to the floor in the cell.

“Now I’m standing there with 20 prisoners around and they’re freaking out. This guy’s laying there, snoring like crazy. I’m like ‘it’s all right, it’s all right,’ then I realize they have cameras in here. I’ve just choked this guy out in jail – I could get in trouble for this. I kept telling them, ‘he’s fine, he’s fine,’ and it took this guy a minute to wake up. Finally he woke up and we had a laugh, and luckily I didn’t get in any trouble for it. That was beginning and the ending of my inmate coaching career.”

Too funny. I guess it’s just because of my years of training and following the sport, but I always get a kick out of people who think that a person will die if you choke them out.

Through all of this however, the biggest thing that Leben learned was that he needed to grow up. A realization that came to him while serving his sentence. It seems that missing out on a big-time fight with Michael Bisping and not being able to train with his students at the ICON gym in Hawaii really got to him:

“I’m more or less someone who’s got a few issues,” he said. “It made me realize I should have just taken care of it. You’ve got 150 students who want to know where you’re at; you’ve got a top-level fight you’re missing. You need to be taking care of yourself. It gave me a lot of time to evaluate my life.”

Couldn’t have come at a better time in his career in my opinion…

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