Former UFC fighter and cast member of The Ultimate Fighter 1 Chris “The Crippler” Leben has been released from the hospital following a trying battle with COVID-19.
Leben’s MMA journey began in 2002 across many platforms before landing with the UFC. He fought in the middleweight class and holds a professional record of 22 wins and 12 losses.
In 2004, Leben appeared on TUF season 1. He suffered two losses on the promotion but came back with a round 1 TKO against his opponent, Jason Thacker, on the season’s finale.
Leben now coaches mixed martial arts at The Training Center in San Diego, CA. He is a father and husband.
Notably, Chris has been sober for years after past struggles with drugs and alcoholism and a couple of run-ins with the law.
On February 6, Leben posted an Instagram photo of his lower half in hospital garb.
“So I’ve been in the hospital since Tuesday. I went in after a cough and shortness of breath I developed after Covid. I’m not one to bellyache to the world. But if you haven’t seen me at the gym or around that is why. And if you can shoot some positive vibes my way other than that I don’t really wanna say much until we know exactly what’s going on,” Leben captioned on his Instagram post.
Two weeks ago, Leben provided the following update on his health status (h/t BJPenn)
“I feel pretty good. I’m off all the other things, I got no tubes in my body at all right now, only thing is this oxygen. I think that’s what took the most damage, for sure, is my lungs. They did say 100% of my lungs are damaged, but they also said 100% recovery is possible. I think that’s what’s gonna happen. It’s gonna take some time, start out slow, but I’m still alive, man. I’m still here. For that, I’m so grateful. The fact that I get to fight my way back to 100% health, to have that opportunity, is such a blessing.”
“I learned a lot. It’s not that I’m scared to die, it’s that I’m in love with life. I have so much to live for – a beautiful child, a thriving new business, I have family and I have the greatest, closest friends in the world that all came together and showed me how much they cared about me during this trying time.”
Update: Chris Leben Released From The Hospital
Last Friday, Leben posted the following happy ending to this story, where he is shown doting on his child after being released from the hospital.
“Daddy’s home. Thank you @JDS1974SD 🙏🏻 I called on you from the spirit world and you delivered. To ALL my friends @danawhite @dr_octagon and all the fans who supported me. I AM GRATEFUL 👊🏻 Time to live, time to fight, time to love. TIME FOR 272!! Lfg!”
“The Crippler” last performed in the Octagon in 2013. Since his final loss in the UFC to Uriah Hall, he fought with the BKFC. After just three bouts, Leben announced his retirement from professional fighting to pursue a different path in MMA.