The UFC releases fighters on a monthly basis and often does so in bulk, so it’s rarely a surprise to see a familiar face flash across the news wire based on newfound free agency. However, when welterweight Matt Riddle was axed by the organization earlier this year it drew some attention based on the cut being unrelated to performance inside the Octagon. Rather, Riddle’s issue with the UFC involved repeated infractions for marijuana use.
It didn’t take long for Riddle to find a new professional home, signing with Legacy FC for a summer debut before Bellator ultimately swooped in to acquire his contract. Riddle spoke about his immediate future in an official press release announcing the deal, explaining it was a no brainer to take his talents to the Bellator ring.
“I had so many options after I left the UFC, but knowing that I was able to compete in a tournament against guys like Paul Daley, Ben Saunders, and Douglas Lima, signing with Bellator was an easy decision,” said Riddle. “This division is just so stacked, and being able to fight in a tournament makes it even better. Bellator is doing a lot of great things right now, and I want to be a part of it.”
Like all fighters in his position, Riddle’s goal is to emerge with a six-figure payday and title-shot in tow by winning one of the company’s trademark tournaments. However, getting a crack at the championship isn’t his only objective.
“No questions asked, I want to win the next Bellator Welterweight Tournament, get my shot at the title and take my beautiful wife to the MTV Awards and meet Snoop Dogg,” the 27-year old stated. “I’ve seen all the pictures of Bellator guys walking red carpets and it’s something I want to earn and be able to do. What could be better than that?”
Riddle is 7-3 in his career with another two triumphs now standing as No Contests due to failed drug tests for having toked. Had they stood he would be on a four-fight winning streak. All of Riddle’s bouts have taken place under the UFC banner. No date/opponent have been targeted for Riddle’s Bellator unveiling though it was mentioned it will take place this fall as part of the Season 9 field.
Front-Page Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports