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UFC suspends Chris Leben for failed drug test

Post-UFC 138 screening reveals two painkillers in Leben’s system

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Justin M. Bowen

Chris Leben speaks to the media during the press conference Thursday, June 30, 2011 at MGM Grand in preparation for UFC 132 Saturday night.

UFC 138

KSNV coverage of UFC 138, Nov. 5, 2011.

The career of UFC middleweight Chris Leben has taken another troubling turn.

The UFC announced Monday afternoon that Leben would serve a one-year suspension for failing a drug test. Leben tested positive for two painkillers, oxycodone and oxymorphone, following a UFC 138 knockout loss to Mark Munoz earlier this month in Birmingham, England, the UFC said.

“I would like to make it known that I fully accept this suspension and apologize for embarrassing the UFC, my friends and family, and sport of mixed martial arts,” Leben said in a statement. “I’m learning that I’m my own worst enemy sometimes. I can’t succeed in the octagon or in life behaving this way.”

Because the card was overseas, the UFC handled the drug tests and regulation instead of state commissions like in America. The UFC said the other 19 fighters who competed on Nov. 5 at the LG Arena passed their drug screenings.

“I like Chris and I want him to do well, but based on his actions, he’s been suspended for one year,” UFC President Dana White said. “If he needs professional help, we are going to be there for him. We want to see him succeed not only in the octagon but in his personal life.”

This marks the second time the UFC has suspended Leben (26-8 MMA, 12-7 UFC) for failing a drug test. After UFC 89, which also took place in England in 2008, Leben tested positive for steroids and was held out of competition for nine months.

Leben has carried a bad boy reputation since his days on the first season of “The Ultimate Fighter,” when he infamously urinated on a fellow fighter's bed after a night of partying.

Leben hopes to use the year away from the UFC intelligently.

“I’ve got to make some real changes over the next year and I’m going to focus on getting my life and career back on track,” Leben said. “Again, I’m sorry to the UFC and fans (that have) supported me since my days on The Ultimate Fighter.”

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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