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Bellator signs UFC veteran Chris Leben

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Bellator MMA has inked another popular former UFC fighter to a contract.

Popular veteran middleweight Chris Leben is the newest member of the Bellator roster, president Scott Coker announced Friday night on AXS TV's Inside MMA. Former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson signed with Bellator on Monday after fighting out his contract and entering free agency.

Coker said Leben signed with Bellator on Thursday and his acquisition is only pending some physicals.

Leben (22-11) retired in early 2014 following a knockout loss to Uriah Hall at UFC 168 in December 2013. The Ultimate Fighter 1 alum has lost four straight, but is still a well-known name with a significant fanbase. "The Crippler" has knockout power in his hands and owns victories over the likes of Wanderlei Silva, Patrick Cote and Yoshihiro Akiyama. He has not fought for a promotion other than the UFC since 2004.

Leben, 35, lives and trains in the San Diego area. He was recently released after pleading guilty to multiple charges in relation to a June break-in at an apartment he once shared with his estranged wife. His book "The Crippler: Cage Fighting and My Life on the Edge" was released last month. It chronicles his MMA career and struggles with substance abuse.

Bellator also signed Russian heavyweight Sergei Kharitonov this week.