According to Steven Marrocco of MMA Junkie, Leben became the first fighter to receive an exemption for the prescription opioid medicine Suboxone. The drug is typically used as a replacement therapy for people with a narcotic dependency, something Leben has struggled with in the past.
In 2011, Leben tested positive for oxycodone and oxymorphone following a loss to Mark Munoz at UFC 138. That caused the UFC to suspend the former TUF star for a year. It would be the second time the UFC had to take action against Leben. The UFC also suspended him after he tested positive for the synthetic anabolic stanozolol in October 2008.
Leben also had a DUI incident back in 2010 that all but derailed any momentum he had gained after winning three straight in the Octagon.
The hard-hitting southpaw has done everything he can to maintain his sobriety. Leben admitted to attending rehab for an addiction to prescription painkillers and counted 15 months of sobriety. He also moved from his longtime residence of Hawaii to Southern California.
A guy who has struggled with his addiction on a national stage for much of his career, Leben is using his addictive personality in a positive way these days, per John Morgan of MMA Junkie:
"I'm a creature of excess – everything in excess and nothing in moderation," Leben said. "That's kind of been my motto for life. So this health thing, and this energy I have, I'm getting addicted to that. It's a complete rebirth."
Leben must be in a better place now if he can manage to joke about his prior troubles.
"Well didn't get the comeback story, but i promise you there will be no relapse story. Gonna stay strong & continue on the path," he wrote on Twitter following his UFC 162 loss.
Leben's skill and ability may be deteriorating inside the cage, but at least his willpower and determination to stay clean is going strong outside of it.
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