Those watching the sportsbooks closely might have noticed something odd happening on the weekend of UFC 102. Chris Leben, who arrived in Portland as a -200 favorite, dropped down to even by the time it was ready to fight. Odds are always moving since a sportsbook’s money is made by an even distribution of bets, and Leben dropping to even points towards a shitload of people putting money on Jake Rosholt. Rosholt was a human punching bag against Nissen Osterneck and got tooled by Dan Miller in his last fight, not to mention the fact that he’s also way less popular than Chris Leben. All of these facts should have seen the line move more for fan favorite Leben.
So why did it instead even out? There were a few rumors floating around as to Chris Leben’s condition:
Yahoo! Sports Kevin Iole came on the ESPNRadio1100 UFC 102 postfight show (archive here) and revealed some interesting chatter he’d heard about Leben (Part 3 – 23:09 mark):
“A prominent fighter came over to me tonight and told me he’d made a bet on Rosholt. I was a little surprised by that. He said he knew that Leben hadn’t trained at all.”
That seems like the tip of the iceberg for a fight’s odds to move that much. Is there more to the story?
Leben, who has battled alcoholism for much of his adult life, did mention to Cagewriter during a prefight interview (4:03 mark) that he had slipped a few times while sitting out his nine-month suspension for a positive performance enhancing drug test.
Iole went on to say, “UFC is dropping fighters on the margins, I think he’s done.”
If Leben really didn’t train at all (something easy enough to find out since gyms are full of gossips eager to dish about who’s not putting in 110%), then at the very least he deserves a demotion to the undercard. The guy’s already coming off a steroid suspension from a main event fight. If he’s not taking this shit seriously any more, then fuck him. How many chances is he gonna get?