One of the more infamous fights in UFC history happened not in the octagon, but in a hospital. After Joe Riggs defeated Nick Diaz by unanimous decision at UFC 57 in early 2006, the two men were taken to the same hospital. They sat in rooms opposite each other and started up with the chitchat again, leading to a physical confrontation right there in the ward. Diaz has always maintained that Riggs attacked him. But Riggs, who is currently on Bellator's Fight Master reality show, has finally told his side of the story to SI, and he says Diaz attacked him - after a verbal smackdown, of course.
Riggs was going to take his urine sample with an IV pole dragging behind him, and he passed by Diaz's room:
"What do you want?" asked Diaz, venom dripping off his words.
"I just f----d you up on TV. That's two and you're out," said Riggs, referring to Diaz's back-to-back UFC losses. "Time to go back to the WEC." Riggs said he then turned back toward the nurses' desk to resume his task.
"He knocked half of my tooth out," recalled Riggs. "I saw it flying out and all I could think about was my wedding rehearsal I had to go to. Thank God it turned out only to be my molar."
Things go pretty crazy from here, as expected:
For the next five minutes, Riggs said the fighters broke out into a full-out brawl, grappling for control and trading insults as they went. They spilled into nearby rooms, banging into instrument trays, sending flying metal clanging to the floor. Riggs' IV had been knocked out and blood was spraying everywhere like a bad horror movie.
"We were like two pit bulls in a china shop," said Riggs. "It was one of most crazy things I've ever been involved in."
A part of the story I had never heard before was that Frank Mir and Tim Sylvia, who had been in Riggs' corner, were just standing around watching the whole thing and didn't jump in. Riggs says one person did jump in and hit him though - predictably, it was Nick's brother Nate Diaz. Then Riggs and Nick fell into a linen closet. Yes, a linen closet.
"We were in close quarters, grabbing onto each other, almost like in a clinch," Riggs said. From there, Diaz was able to pin Riggs to a wall.
"My hands were broken," said Riggs. "I couldn't hit [him], so I was trying to knee him. I managed to get in some elbows. He had a gash on his hairline. His nose was bleeding."
Finally a cop pulled them apart and Riggs eventually went home. He said he thought the whole thing was kind of funny until he heard that Nick had got the upper hand:
"I get back home and the first thing I hear is that Nick knocked me out in the hospital. I couldn't even enjoy the win," said Riggs. "He knocked me down. I'll give him that, but I wasn't looking his way and didn't expect it."