Chris Leben will return from a nine-month steroids suspension to take on perhaps the best wrestler in all of mixed martial arts, Jake Rosholt, in front of a hometown crowd at UFC 102 from the Rose Garden Arena in Portland, Ore., on August 29, according to MMAWeekly.com.
"The Crippler" -- a Portland-area native who relocated to Hawaii -- tested positive for the performance-enhancing illegal steroid known as Stanazolol in the wake of his unanimous decision loss to Michael Bisping in the main event at UFC 89: "Leben vs. Bisping" at The National Indoor Arena (NIA) in Birmingham, England, on October 18.
As a result, Leben was suspended for nine months and fined one-third of his fight purse. The earliest he can compete again inside the Octagon is August 2009.
It was the latest in a string of setbacks for Leben who has battled with alcohol for more than 15 years. He served a prison sentence earlier this year for an old Driving Under the Influence (DUI) probation violation in Portland to ensure that he would be cleared to leave the United States to fight "The Count."
Clearly, he was not too happy with himself for the recent setback after declaring major progress in his personal and professional lives.
Here's a snip from Leben after the positive test was announced:
"I’ve really done everything I can to turn my life around, and this is a huge setback for me, but it is something I will have to deal with. During my time off from fighting, I want to speak to kids about the dangers of using performance enhancing agents and let them know it just doesn’t get you ahead in life. Of course this is a hard hit for me monetarily, but more so this is embarrassing for me and for all of my fans…."
His opponent, Rosholt, is a three-time NCAA Division I wrestling champion out of Oklahoma State University (OSU). He turned pro about two years ago and had gone undefeated ever since until locking horns with Dan Miller at UFC Fight Night 17 back in February. His limited experience was evident in that 185-pound contest, getting submitted with a rather routine choke early in the first round.
In addition, in his recent World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) debut against Nissen Osterneck, Rosholt did not appear comfortable on his feet, eating several knuckle sandwiches and looking as if he could be stopped. However, Rosholt weathered the storm and capitalized with a technical knockout shortly after Osterneck punched himself out.
He’ll have to correct both his submission and striking skills before getting locked inside the cage with a well-rounded and heavy-handed veteran such as Leben. Otherwise, it will be a very short night for Rosholt.
UFC 102 is expected to feature one of the sport’s biggest stars — and local-area product — former heavyweight and light heavyweight champion Randy Couture, locking horns with former Pride FC and UFC interim heavyweight champion, Antonio Rodrigo ‘Minotauro’ Nogueira.
To check out the latest UFC 102 fight card and rumors click here.