Matt Riddle was a welterweight with a lot of promise. The TUF 7 contestant made his UFC debut at just 22 back in 2008, going a respectable 6-3 before running into some trouble with drug testing. Two of his next three fights ended up being flipped to No Contests due to Riddle's positive tests for marijuana, and after the second one the UFC elected to release him from the company.
It's been a while now, and Riddle has been vocal about his dislike for the way he was treated. But in a recent interview with SI.com, he took the story of his release to a whole different level:
SI.com: "Why were you fired from UFC while you were on a four-fight winning streak? Was Dana White's decision personal?"
Matt Riddle: "It was extremely personal. I'm the only fighter ever fired for marijuana. Everyone else gets suspended or a penalty. They just fired me because I was so vocal against testosterone replacement therapy. People knew I used marijuana, and I was always honest about it. Zuffa's attorney, Michael Mersch, called me and told me not to talk about it. At the time, UFC was trying to keep guys around like Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva, and they couldn't stick around unless they used testosterone. I didn't need that. I was 27 years old and in a four-fight win streak, so even though I'm ranked top ten in the world, their decision kept me in the shadows. Other guys have been suspended for failing drug tests, but they fired me, and that's why.
"But things have changed since-now they've banned TRT. I didn't fail a commission drug test, I failed a UFC-ran drug test. I still think it's a fishy thing, and it had to do a lot to do with how vocal I was about TRT. When I was fired in 2012, TRT was allowed but medical marijuana was not. Dana White and the UFC allowed testosterone replacement therapy, along with Adderall, OxyContin and other drugs as long as you had a doctor's note. You were allowed to use prescribed medications before competition. I was prescribed medical marijuana, which was considered a performance-enhancing drug. Unlike marijuana, the other drugs were all allowed with a doctor's note. I was in the middle of the big battle between marijuana and pharmaceutical companies. The UFC had just brought on Bud Light as a major sponsor, so they were outspoken against marijuana. You could use steroids and not marijuana, and my big beef was against the testosterone."
Now let's break this down a bit. First of all, he wasn't even on a four-fight winning streak. Technically he did win four in a row, but two were flipped to No Contests. He had ripped the UFC for allowing TRT at the time, and he did so just a few days before what turned out to be his last UFC bout. But then he went out and failed another drug test. He is right that the UFC acted as their own commission and handled the testing themselves, but are they really going to rig a weed test?
His assertion that he was ranked in the top ten is also very, very incorrect. In fact, he wasn't even ranked in the top 25. He didn't receive a single vote towards the top 25 either.
Also, why bring up Chuck Liddell? He had retired from the sport two and a half years before Riddle was released. And since when did the UFC allow OxyContin with a doctor's note?
He didn't even get the year he was fired in right. He was released in 2013, not 2012.
Then again, Riddle also accused Dana himself of being on TRT in a 2014 interview with MMA Sentinel, so I guess none of this should be surprising.
Riddle, who recently had a WWE tryout, is looking to keep wrestling on the indies for a while to gain experience. His promo skills seem to be coming along nicely though.