Retired fighter Chris Leben: ‘One doctor even mentioned getting me on the heart transplant list’

MMAOddsBreaker’s Frank Trigg speaks with retired former UFC middleweight Chris Leben, who’s comeback bid with the Bellator MMA promotion was recently nixed due to discovered heart issues.

The former fan favorite was hoping to make a comeback and had recently signed with Bellator, but everything changed after receiving some harsh medical updates:

“I failed my EKG. They had me retake it the next day and I failed it again. I failed like four of them so I go to a doctor and the doctor tells me ‘you probably have what we call an Athletic Heart so you need an echocardiogram where they take an ultrasound of your heart in action.’ It was a 99 percent chance of being that, or it could be something you can drop dead from. Unfortunately, in my case, it’s the latter. They did the thing in my heart and they sat me down and told me things weren’t looking so good. I’ve been to several doctors and a couple doctors were pretty grim with their outcome, but then again, I think they’re paid to be that way. One doctor told me as long as I take my medication and don’t drink again and don’t use any drugs, she believes I can make some sort of recovery.”

Leben provided an update on just how grim the outlook actually was:

“One doctor even mentioned getting me on the heart transplant list. Basically my left ventricle is oversized, misshapen and not pumping correctly. It’s only pumping about 18 percent of the blood that goes into my heart back out, so it’s time to step up and take care of myself now.”

Written by Frank Trigg

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