Riddle started fighting professionally on The Ultimate Fighter, season 7, in 2008, and got the biggest, scariest KO in the history of the show. The close of his career was less spectacular.
Fighters have occasionally been cut after just one loss. The most exciting fighters have been cut after four or conceivably five losses.
Matt Riddle was cut after four wins. The problem was, two of those wins were overturned after he tested positive for the well-known performance enhancing drug marijuana.
Riddle failed a marijuana test at UFC 149 in 2012. In an interview afterward, he offered some remarks that were doubtless intended in jest, but were not received well at the time.
“It makes me happy,” he said of using marijuana. “Honestly, it probably keeps me from beating my three kids because they’re always screaming and crying at me and my wife’s crazy and you know what life’s like.”
When he tested positive for marijuana a second time following UFC on Fuel 7 on February 16, 2013, he was released by the UFC. He had one more fight, tapping out Michael Kuiper at Titan FC 27, on February 28, 2014.
Now he pursues a more compatible calling, as a pro wrestler.
Riddle has a name, “The King of Bros,” bestowed after an interaction with William Regal. He has a signature finishing hold – The Bromission (you might know it as a Twister).
Riddle looks great at pro wrestling, and the fans have embraced him.
He makes maybe $300 per show, maybe more, performing three times a week, Friday through Sunday, all over the USA, from Ybor City, Florida, to California, to Queens, New York. Now 30, he’s a father of three – six-year olds twins, and three-year old.
“I’ll be honest, $300-$500, that adds up three times a week,” he explained.
“It’s a little different. I got into the UFC so fast. So when I first started wrestling, I thought I could be in the WWE in six months, kind of like with the UFC. In pro wrestling, there’s just so many little elements. So many people can wrestle, so many people can fight, whatever, but you’ve got to be able to tell a story with your fight, with your wrestling. That was a big thing I had to pick up.”
“My long-term goals, the WWE is it,” he said, and says he is an inch away from a contract. “All the bigger organizations are there, but right now this is good for me. People might not like to believe, but the indies are where the smart fans are. This is where you get the diehard.”
So Riddle is happy where he is, and heading towards a happier place still. And in a compelling moment, Riddle explained why he was no longer happy in MMA.
“I lost interest a long time ago,” said Riddle. “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 hasn’t abandoned MMA, either. The brown belt teaches Jiu-Jitsu to kids during the week, and has a fight team that competed in China this year. But his heart is now in pro wrestling.
“I’m doing great,” he says. “I wish I would have made this transition sooner after the UFC fired me. I’m having a blast.”