Matt Riddle On MMA Departure: ‘I Felt Bad Beating People’
Bloody Elbow – Matt Riddle is making the most of his pro wrestling career. The former UFC welterweight was released from the organization a few years ago due to multiple positive tests for marijuana, and eventually left the sport altogether to jump into something that seems to be a better fit for him – the squared circle. In a fascinating piece by MMA Fighting’s Chuck Mindenhall, Riddle discusses his new career at length and gives some insight as to why he ultimately decided to leave fighting behind:
“I lost interest a long time ago. I felt bad beating people. Like, when I beat Che Mills, I felt bad. Dude has a wife, dude has a kid, he just got fired from the UFC because I beat him and he got half his money. I have three kids, I need to eat the same as anybody, but I felt bad. I lost interest. I hated cutting weight, I loved fighting. Fighting was so much fun. It’s amazing.”
Riddle still teaches BJJ to kids and works with a fight team, but wrestling is his career now. He currently works three nights a week, making 300-500 bucks a shot. The biggest promotion he’s currently with is Evolve, and his goal is to be a champion there in 2017. He also wants to go to Japan, which I believe would be a very good move for him. His shoot fighting background and solid, grappling-based pro wrestling style would be well-respected in a place like New Japan Pro Wrestling, and his current “King of Bros” gimmick would get him over there.
King of Bros? Yeah, it’s exactly what it sounds like. Riddle is just basically projecting his own personality and turning it up a few notches. And it works. You really should take the time to read Chuck’s article if you’re into wrestling, or even if you want to try to understand the differences between the MMA grind and something somewhat similar.
You can also check out some of Riddle’s wrestling chops in his Evolve matches here and here. The latter in particular is worth your time – Riddle faces TJ Perkins in the latter’s last Evolve match. Perkins went on to win the WWE Cruiserweight Classic a few days later – a very big accomplishment.
I have friends on the pro wrestling circuit (A Wrestling Podcast About Nothing, cough cough) and they tell me Matt Riddle is a phenomenal wrestler and should be able to find his way into the WWE eventually. It appears he loves putting on a show and his personality allows him to stand out among other big personalities. We always seem interested when somebody makes the transition into MMA from professional wrestling but Matt’s story is just as fascinating going the other way. I hope he finds more success because it was always a pleasure watching him fight in the octagon. Maybe I will catch him in the squared circle someday…if certain friends could hook me up with some tickets.