reports that mixed martial Chris Leben is penalized with a nine-month suspension due to failed doping test.

Leben’s promotion, the Ultimate Fighting Championships, handed down the suspension when the middleweight fighter tested positive for the anabolic steroid stanozolol in a post-fight screening. Leben was also asked to pay a fine amounting to one-third of the payroll he received at the UFC 89 that took place in Birmingham, England.

Leben lost to English fighter Michael Bisping in said event through unanimous decision.

Leben stated: “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. I apologize to the UFC and everyone who supported me in my fight in England. I hope to work through this and get back to fighting soon.”

Meanwhile, UFC president Dana White said: “I am obviously disappointed with Chris, who has made great strides getting his life back on track. To his credit, he has taken responsibility for his actions and is accepting the punishment that has been handed down. But as always, the UFC puts the safety of its athletes first and foremost, and we won’t tolerate anyone using performance enhancing drugs in our organization.”

Leben is expected to return to the UFC July 2009.

More background info from

Leben had been scheduled to headline UFC 85 with Bisping in June, but the bout was postponed so that Leben could serve jail time for a previous DUI offense. He hoped jail time wouldn’t be issued and that the move would allow him to secure a visa for the event. However, Leben was sentenced to 35 days in the Clackamas County Jail in Oregon (though he was released early), and the fight was postponed.

Serving the jail time was part of what Leben called a maturation process that followed his move to Hawaii, where he now serves as an MMA instructor at the ICON Fitness and MMA Center. Prior to UFC 89, Leben, who appeared on “The Ultimate Fighter 1″ (with a few drunken rampages), also said he had quit drinking.

Stanozolol, commonly sold as Winstrol (oral) and Winstrol Depot (injectable) is a synthetic steroid derived from testosterone. It has been prescribed to treat diverse conditions in both human and animal patients. In humans, stanozolol is effective in treating anemia and hereditary angioedema. In animals, it is used in promoting muscle growth, appetite, and red blood cell production.

Other MMA fighters who tested positive for this steroid in the past include Phil Baroni, Tim Sylvia, and German-born Kimo Leopoldo.