Chris Leben tells truth about Brian Stann fight

On August 26, 2014 By

Longtime UFC fan favourite Chris “The Crippler” Leben stops by Submission Radio to give an update on his life post retirement and tell some crazy stories from his career. Chris talks about being the head coach at Victory MMA, being tempted to get back in the cage, his rematch with Josh Koscheck and why it never happened, Koscheck’s career and if he should retire, the Akiyama fight at UFC 116, his toughest fight, kicking down walls to get out of a bathroom right before the Brian Stann fight, and much more.

Interview highlights below

If Chris has moments when he flirts with temptation to go back in the ring one last time

“I do. I mean anybody, if they told you they didn’t they’d be a liar. I mean to some extent I do, you know and I know if I knew that I could fight and that I would win 100% of the fights that I was in, I might actually do it, but then I also remember how hard a training camp really is. You know, every training camp takes a little bit out of you, you know”

“All the work that I have to go through, what my relationship has to go through with all the sacrifice, putting all the time in the gym, being tired all the time, you know. The fact of the matter is yes the sport’s awesome, there’s nothing like getting your hand raised in the octagon, but what people don’t realize is that’s just your 15 minutes of glory, maximum. The rest is blood, sweat, tears, sacrifice. I mean, so unusually when I have that, I remind myself ‘now think about it Chris, remember all the the blood, sweat, the tears , the sacrifice, you know look where you’re at, your happy’ and that’s what I do.”

On the Josh Koscheck rematch why it never happened

“You know, the obvious thing is Josh dropped down to 170. That was the obvious thing, but even past that, you know I would have loved to have them do it as just kind of a super fight, like ‘hey man, let’s do a catchweight at 180 pounds’ something like that you know.”

“Ultimately I would have been great for it. Not because I hate Josh and I wanna beat him up, but because it’s a fight and fights are money. Truthfully, you know there’s no ill will between me and him and here’s why, it’s not like we hugged and made up, it’s more like I only have some much time in my life, you know. So I don’t have time to hold a resentment against a guy for being an idiot for the rest of my life, you know I’m saying. Then I’m gonna be one of those just old, angry people, that’s just mad at the world and just wants to sit in there chair and just slowly die, you know. So I kind of, inside I’ve let it go. I let the rivalry go a long, long time ago I let that rivalry go. Now, would I still fight him? Absolutely I’d fight him.”

“Now, would I still fight him? Absolutely I’d fight him. I’d probably fight him right now if they’d set it up, you know. I think it’d be a good fight honestly. Obviously I’m a little bigger than him, but Josh is an amazing athlete, you know and when I was fighting and even now I always love a challenge. I’m never the kinda a guy that goes ‘oh I wanna take something easy’.”

Thoughts on if Chris thinks it may be time for Josh to hang up the gloves

“It’s tough because you never really can say exactly when it’s somebody else’s time. I definitely say it’s getting close, you know and I definitely say he’s made his mark, and if I was talking to Josh, I’d say ‘look at what you’ve done, look how long you’ve been here, look at the time. You know where you’re at as far all the people in the UFC. You beat eight out of ten guys in the UFC right now in your weight division for sure, but you’ve been here so long and you know you gotta look, you know there’s that 20% that you’re just not gonna beat. So you’ve already figured that out, why keep hanging around? You’ve done everything you needed to do, you know? Hang it up and move. “

“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 fucking Joe Silva”

On the amazing run Chris had when he beat Aaron Simpson and Akiyama 2 weeks later

“I mean it was a little bit of a wild ride. 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 favourite 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 fucking 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 tonne 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 groundhogs 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.”

On fighters not having a retirement fund and if needs to be put in place

“Yeah I do. I mean, I’m gonna watch my mouth with what I say here, but absolutely. I know Dana’s gone online saying “hey the UFC is an opportunity and dadada”, well you know, I don’t know. I feel like it’s more than that when people dedicate their entire lives, their entire existence to perform and putting on a show for, you know ultimately for a certain organization because they’re the big ones, and if you make it, that’s where you go. And right now the way it’s structured, I don’t know many fighters that are set for life from their fighting, you know what I mean? I know a lot of football players and basketball players, baseball players, you know even boxers, but I feel like that’s the direction the UFC is going, it’s because a mainstream sport. You know it’s becoming a sport, and if you wanna be like the NBA or the NFL or whatever, you probably should treat your athletes like that as well. You know, you should have financial advisors for them, help them out, give them different options, 401K, ‘hey look we’re gonna pay you this much money, but look you don’t have to take it all. You could put half of it into a retirement fund’.”

“Even some simple options, especially for a dumb 20 year old kid that was raised without a penny to his name his entire life, and just hand him a check and go ‘here you go buddy. Now make sure to pay your taxes’, you know. I feel like that’s a little irresponsible.”

On the greatest Chris Leben story

“Right before I fought Brian Stann I actually went out. 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, fucking 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.”

On Toughest win

“You know my favourite fight and guys can look it up online, it actually wasn’t even in the UFC. 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 fucken shit 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 back 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 fucking 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 fucking 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 shit flying at me man. They were pissed.”

“I kicked my way all the way to the exit by kicking the stall walls down”

On what went through Chris’ head when he demonstrated a chokehold in prison and the guy didn’t wake up for 30 seconds.

“That sucked. Fuck I went in for 30 days and I thought I’m not leaving for another 10 years.”

On if he could rematch anyone in his career who would it be and why

“I really think I’d like to rematch Brian Stann. That fight just didn’t work out the way, and I don’t know. I was super sick going into the fight and I just feel like I could have performed better.”

MMA Fighter that he’s looked up to and was inspired by

“I would say Wanderlei Silva and Fedor”

On song Chris wished he could have come out to for his fights that he never got a chance to

“Well I always tried to go out to Slayer “Raining blood”, but apparently it’s too hardcore for the UFC.”

Chris Leben’s secret to a successful marriage

“Keep her happy, and she’s always right bro.”

On strangest MMA show experience

“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 fucking wiener. So that was a little weird. I was like ‘dude I’m fucking pissing man, I’m peeing! What are you doing! this is not ok!”

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