A former Ultimate Fighting Championship fighter has pleaded guilty to three charges Monday after he tried to get into his estranged wife’s San Diego apartment by scaling the outside wall.
At his arraignment, Christian Leben, 35, admitted to felony possession of an assault weapon, misdemeanor vandalism and misdemeanor violation of a temporary restraining order.
Leben, also known as “The Crippler” in MMA circles, will likely get probation at his Aug. 31 sentencing, according to prosecutors. He retired from the UFC in 2013.
The charges stem from a June 8 incident in the 400-block of 10th Avenue where San Diego police responded to reports of a man refusing to leave his ex-wife's apartment.
In a request for a restraining order, Leben's estranged wife, Kaleena, wrote she awoke around 3 a.m. on June 8 to banging and kicking at her door. Around 4:30 a.m. she woke up to find Leben trying to scale the outside wall of her downtown San Diego high rise to access her apartment via the balcony.
Terrified, she says she ran to a neighbor's apartment and returned to her home the next morning.
A San Diego police report describes finding a "loaded Ruger SR45 .45 caliber handgun" on Kaleena's bed immediately after the incident.
Kaleena then wrote in her request for a restraining order, made permanent by a judge, that her building's management alerted her to finding an M16 assault rifle hidden in a maintenance closet a few floors from her apartment.
The day before the alleged intrusion, Kaleena wrote that she received a text message from her estranged husband, stating, "Hey love of my life you broke another promise you told me you were going to call me back I'm going to start by murdering your father at social couple guys finally turn now."
Reached by telephone last month, Christian said it was his wife who was physically and emotionally abusive toward him.
"The fact of the matter was I was trying to move out," Leben said. "The stress of law school was getting to her and she was physically and emotionally abusive to me."
He told NBC 7 that his wife hit him in the face, threw things at him and grabbed his throat over their three-year marriage. Leben said he gave Kaleena an ultimatum, telling her to go to an anger management course.
"Everyone in the world, everyone knew she was beating me," he said.
But Kaleena's restraining order paints a different picture of their marriage, describing numerous incidents of physical abuse over the couple's relationship. It includes a picture of Kaleena's scarred leg where she says Leben cut her with a knife. Leben said she cut her own leg and used her knowledge of the system as a law student to manipulate the courts.
On a separate incident in 2011, she describes being taken via an ambulance to the ER for staples in her head after Leben allegedly pushed her into a wall, splitting her head open.
According to the ex-UFC fighter, Kaleena was drunk and high that night, so he said he was trying to prevent her from getting behind the wheel while intoxicated. He said he was holding her and she flung her head back against the wall, creating the gash.
Kaleena accuses Leben of suffering from mental illness, of being addicted to opiates, OxyContin and alcohol and of using cocaine and steroids.
Leben said everything in the restraining order is a "flat out lie."
His attorney Michael Earle stressed the June 8 incident is not a domestic violence case.
"There was absolutely no violence involved with it," he said. "I know there's a lot of rumors going around that it was a DV case. He was never arrested for DV. He was never charged with any kind of domestic violence or any assault. She never claimed he put his hands on her at any time."