Chris Leben never shies away from a battle and that’s what he’s anticipating next month.
On June 22, Leben will go one-on-one with former Bellator fighter Brennan Ward. The bout will serve as BKFC 6’s co-main event. Headlining the card will be a grudge match between Paulie Malignaggi and Artem Lobov.
A press conference for BKFC 6 was held earlier today (May 20) in New York City. Things got intense as Malignaggi and Lobov nearly came to blows. MMA News spoke to Leben after the presser and he admitted that the animosity between Malignaggi and Lobov has sold him on their fight:
“Wild man, wild. One thing’s for sure man, I wanna watch that fight I’ll tell you that right now. This press conference and the ending for me, it definitely sold the fight. Yeah man I don’t know, that’s not me. I wouldn’t disrespect my opponent like that personally, but I definitely wanna see what happens. These two guys do not like each other.”
Leben is 2-0 when it comes to bare-knuckle boxing. His Nov. 2018 bout with Phil Baroni lasted one minute and 19 seconds. Justin Bareman didn’t fare any better, as he was knocked out by Leben in 25 seconds. “The Crippler” doesn’t expect to have the same quick success against Ward:
“No way man. I had two quick knockouts, no way the third one’s gonna be quick. I’m preparing for a bloodbath and I mean that’s the only way you can look at it. You cry in the dojo, you laugh on the battlefield. And every fight I prepare for a war. I visualize a war in my head. You know what? On the 22nd if something else happens, that’s great. But you know what? I’m ready to go to war. I’ve watched Ward, I’ve been studying tape on him. The kid is tough. The kid will stay in there and he hits really freaking hard too. So I think it’s gonna be a really exciting fight. I think styles make fights and the way that we match up, there’s just no way it’s a boring fight. There’s no way possible.”
Both Leben and Ward had their issues with the World Bare Knuckle Fighting Federation (WBKFF). Leben plans to sue the promotion over failing to pay his fight purse. “The Crippler” explained why BKFC is doing things the right way:
“Night and day, night and day. One is a real successful, growing organization. It’s young, it’s still in its infancy but every fight, every show that they’re growing they’re getting bigger. The other one was a one-off, one shot, shot in the dark that didn’t work out if at all they ever even planned for it to work out. I don’t know. Could’ve been a Ponzi scheme to begin with.”
Leben turned some heads when he talked about Bas Rutten’s role in the WBKFF debacle. Leben cleared up any misconceptions, but stood his ground:
“I think it’s important that anybody that says I made any comments about Bas Rutten, Bas Rutten is a great guy. Okay, loved him and I’ve known Bas for almost 20 years and I’ve always been friends, always supported him. What I did say is best case scenario, Bas knew we were gonna get paid late and didn’t tell us. Worst case scenario, Bas knew we were never gonna get paid at all. And I will go on the record to saying that. It is what it is. If you knew we weren’t gonna get paid the night of the fight, you should’ve told us. So, that’s that.”