Welterweight Matt Riddle is one of only a few fighters who can claim the distinction of having each of his professional bouts take place inside the Octagon, earning his spot on the roster as a true rookie as a member of the Ultimate Fighter 7 cast. However, that statistic will change the next time Riddle enters the cage as a result of the 27-year old being released last week.
Though the cut was said to stem from Riddle failing a drug test for marijuana use – the second such time in a year – the free agent fighter feels the move had more to do with his decision to play it safe against Che Mills en route to victory at UFC on Fuel 7 coupled with some comments he made criticizing the organization’s matchmaking team.
“I wasn’t expecting to fail that drug test. You know, I quit 21 days out,” explained Riddle on The MMA Hour. “But after me calling out Joe Silva because he didn’t give me Dan Hardy, and then me not going out there and brawling, and failing the drug test, they were going to fire me. So whatever, I’m good. I got fight offers. I’m good to go.”
Asked to elaborate on his belief that getting popped for pot was secondary in the equation, Riddle continued, “Look at guys like Dave Herman. Three fight losing streak, gets knocked out like three times in a row, fails two drug tests for weed, and he’s still in the UFC. And I don’t take anything from Herman, I’m sure he’s a great guy. But I don’t know. I think that’s very hypocritical, and those are politics right there.”
At 7-3, and with two other wins later changed to No Contests based on smoking weed, Riddle knows he has what it takes to succeed on smaller shows and even earn his way back into the good graces of his former employers at Zuffa. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean he actually WANTS to re-sign with the company.
“What I see happening is, a year or two from now the UFC calls me back after I’ve won probably like five or six fights, hopefully. And I’ll probably, at the time, say, ‘No.’ Because I really don’t like the direction they’re taking the company. They’re firing high-level talent so they can have lower level talent just scrap, and they’d rather have a brawl than a good technical fight,” Riddle admitted candidly. “I think that’s going to be their downfall, because the fans are getting more educated. They’re getting smarter, and they don’t want to just see a slugfest and two retarded guys with brain damage bleeding everywhere.”
Riddle concluded by saying he was content to have made the money he had thus far and was simply aiming to “have fun on the regional circuit” for the foreseeable future.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC