Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Chris Leben Discusses Role As MMA Referee

Its been a great month for former UFC middleweight competitor Chris Leben. Leben made his return to fighting action at a bare-knuckle boxing event. He fought fellow former UFC star, Phil Baroni. Leben, whose new lifestyle seems to have reenergized the 38-year-old, finished Baroni in the first round. After the win, Leben admits that he’s kind of “hooked” to active competition again and will listen to calls from promoters regarding a possible return.

Aside from fighting inside the cage, however, “The Crippler” would also like to become a prominent face in the officiating department of the sport. Many MMA fans were surprised to see Leben serving as a referee for Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotion’s inaugural MMA event over the weekend.

Leben attended legendary MMA referee Herb Dean‘s referee certification course, which is a requirement when working for the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC). The difficulty of the job came as a surprise to Leben (via MMA Junkie):

“I thought I would just breeze through it, being that I’ve been fighting my whole life,” Leben said. “But you’ve really got to know the ins and outs of the game.”

Leben started off shadowing referees for the California Amateur Mixed Martial Arts Organization (CAMO). He worked for gas money at the first 10 events:

“I started shadowing referees,” Leben said. “Eventually they started letting me ref and judge. I’ve been doing that for at least a year-and-a-half. I’d have to add it up, but I’ve probably done 100 fights.”

What do you think about Leben working as an MMA referee?

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