Retired UFC middleweight Chris Leben recently appeared on Australia's ever awesome Submission Radio and voiced that lately it occurs to him, what a long, strange trip it's been.
“Right before I fought Brian Stann I actually went out," said Leben. "My brother worked in Las Vegas in a place that sold those frozen drinks, you know? Anyways, I got blackout drunk the day before weigh ins. I went back into the Hard Rock and for some reason something upset me, so I was in the bathroom stall the back bathroom stall and I kicked my way all the way to the exit by kicking the stall walls down. They were like marble stall walls, so I just decided to kick all the stall walls down to the exit, and big surprise I got arrested.
"So the security guard for Hard Rock is handcuffing me and everything else and the guys I was with where like from Ireland, and apparently they thought I was Irish too because I was just mocking their accent, f---ing with them, but I think they literally thought I was Irish, and so I ended up bribing my way out. So before his reinforcements came I gave him $500 bucks, he let me run up to my room.
"Ended up waking up. My phone's ringing off like crazy and wake up in a pile of puke and I’m late for my photo shoot for the UFC. It was a nightmare 'cause I thought I was only 8 in the morning, but somehow I set the alarm wrong on the wall, and that’s the time I wanted to wake up. I thought it was 8 in the morning, but it was actually noon. And that was maybe 2, maybe 3 days before I had to step in and have a war with Brian Stann.”
Perhaps stranger still was fighting and beating both Aaron Simpson and Yoshihiro Akiyama in the UFC just two weeks apart.
“It was a little bit of a wild ride," said Leben modestly. "I had asked for Aaron Simpson specifically, because you know Ed Herman who's one of my best friends in whole wide world had fought him previously, and he beat Ed Herman, but I feel he only really beat Ed Herman because Ed Herman tore his ACL out during the fight. You know Aaron was undefeated at the time so I knew he was gonna be tough and I actually, it’s funny because everybody always talks about my Akiyama fight. It was a great fight, I loved it, but I think it’s kinda funny because it was a great fight because I didn't prepare the best I ever had. Like, for Aaron Simpson, that’s probably my favorite in a way I just kinda out techniqued him and had a pretty clean decisive victory over Aaron Simpson.
"And then it was just so hard because I came home, you know I ordered a large Pizza, I remember sitting down with my Wife eating a large pizza like 'ohhh I got my victory yeah!', and then the phone rings, and it’s f---ing Joe Silva, and he's telling me he wants me to fight, and I’m like 'I just fought, you know'. So the next day, I fought on Saturday and on Monday I was back in the gym training, you know. And the thing is your body, you really can’t peak twice if that makes sense, you know. So it was a little bit of hell on my body, but it was also great too because, one: I made a ton of money with back to back wins. You know it was probably the highest moment in my career. You know I think to this day, still nobody's fought with just a weekend apart like that.”
“I didn’t have time to worry. I didn’t have 8-12 weeks to train for Akiyama and think about what he’s going to do, you know. It was just like 'OK boom, and we’re fighting next week!' so next thing I know I was back in my hotel room at Vegas, it was crazy. It was like groundhog day. But the fight itself, I mean it was awesome because neither one of us dodged of moved, we just stood in front of each other like rock 'em sock 'em robots, you know for half the fight and traded blows. But yeah, I’m still pretty lucky and definitely very glad I managed to come out with the W on that one because he definitely landed some pretty solid shots in that fight.
"It’s funny actually, I remember after the fight walking back to back stage and I asked my coach, I said 'what was that about half way through the second round?' And when I look back and I think I can remember the first round and I can remember about half way through the second round, something happened to me about half way through the second round where I don’t remember the third round, I don’t remember talking to Joe. So he definitely landed a few good ones.”
And he had a truly strange experience with a fan in the rest room.
“I had a guy who was pissing next to me, go 'oh my god Chris Leben!!' and start slapping me on the back and shaking me and trying to shake my hand as I was holding my f---ing wiener," said Leben. "So that was a little weird. I was like 'dude I’m f---ing pissing man, I’m peeing! What are you doing! this is not OK!”
In 2008, Leben served a 33 day Clackamas County Jail in Oregon for violating his probation for a DUI misdemeanor received years beforehand. As you can imagine, things got strange in jail, too. Leben needed the serve the 33 days so he could get a passport so he could go fight Michael Bisping at UFC 89 in England.
The inmates didn't believe chokeholds worked, so he applied one, and the inmate didn't wake up as expected.
“That sucked," said Leben. "F--- I went in for 30 days and I thought I’m not leaving for another 10 years.”
Even Leben's favorite fight was a little weird.
"You know my favorite fight and guys can look it up online, it actually wasn’t even in the UFC," said Leben. "It was against a guy named Otto Olson. He was a home town hero, he actually took second in Abu Dhabi and in wrestling the only person he lost to in his senior year was Josh Koscheck believe it or not, he wrestled for Washington State, but great fighter, also school teacher up in Washington too.
"But that fight if you can watch it on Youtube man that guy kicks the f---ing s--- out of me for the first three minutes of the round, and then he puts me in this super crazy guillotine that he gets everyone in and finishes them with. He falls back into it, meanwhile the crowd is going crazy. They’ve been like pumping drinks in the crowd, like now it’s well after midnight, crowd's like black out drunk, home town hero.
"So anyways he gets me in this guillotine and you see me raise my hand to tap. The referees on the other side of the hand I raised, and then I end up going unconscious, so you see my hand just falls limp and I’m completely passed out. Well look he like tries to re-adjust because for some reason I’m not tapping, he doesn’t know I’m f---ing sleeping. I actually had a little dream during the fight it’s really trippy.
"So next thing I know I pop my head out and just doing the drunken stumble backwards, and he pops up and he comes after me like he's ready to finish me I’m done, and as I’m walking backwards he goes to shoot in and I just take like a drunken swing, and BOOM, out f---ing cold man. Actually no he tried to get up then he fell into the corner, then he stood up, and then he fell, ran all the way and then fell in the other corner. So Chris Leben Otto/Olson on youtube, it’s a good one, it’s funny. We actually had to sneak out of the backdoor on that one and then after I win you just see beer cans and s--- flying at me man. They were pissed.”