Why did Matt Riddle leave the UFC and join WWE?

Former UFC star Matt Riddle
Former UFC star Matt Riddle

Before venturing into the world of professional wrestling, Matt Riddle had an impressive run as a mixed martial artist in the UFC. The 35-year-old spent five years competing in the world's leading MMA promotion and amassed a respectable record of 7-3 after two of his victories were overturned.

In July 2012, Matt Riddle defeated Chris Clements via arm-triangle in the third round of the fight at UFC 143, which also earned him the submission of the night bonus. However, Riddle tested positive for cannabis, and the result was overturned to no contest.

Riddle fought Che Mills in February 2013 and got the better of his British opponent in a split decision win, but 'Chipper' once again failed a marijuana test for the second time in less than a year, which didn't go down well with the UFC president Dana White.

Matt Riddle's two consecutive failed drug tests forced UFC to release the 35-year-old from the promotion. In an interview with MMA Fighting, Riddle stated that he had acquired a "medical marijuana license" which permits him to smoke cannabis without legal ramifications.

"I'm smoking so I can finally relax, sit back and just not worry about things. People, maybe they did it in college one way, but for a guy like me, for a professional athlete that goes through what we go through, it’s medicine for me. Maybe for some little stoner sitting on the couch playing XBox, for him, it's a drug. For me, it's medicine," said Riddle.

The rift between Dana White and Matt Riddle

Matt Riddle and Dana White have both targeted each other on social media and during interviews years after the WWE star was released from the UFC. Explaining why Riddle was cut from the promotion, White said that he has no regrets over his decision to fire Riddle.

“I don’t hate Matt Riddle or dislike Matt Riddle in any way. I know he feels the opposite, as he should, but I don’t wish him any ill will or anything. But no, I don’t regret the decision that I made at that time," White told Barstool Sports.

In response, Matt Riddle took to his Instagram account and referred to his former boss as a "heartless moron".

After his release from the UFC, Matt Riddle was expected to compete at Bellator, but he constantly suffered from injuries which forced him to end his MMA career. He came out of retirement in 2014 to fight Michael Kuiper at Titan FC which resulted in a second-round submission win for Matt Riddle, and later went on to join WWE.

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Edited by Anirban Banerjee
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