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Matt Riddle on Being Rejected by WWE in 2015 and Being Inspired By It, Why He Didn’t Fight UFC Release

October 14, 2019 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas

– On Lilian Garcia’s Chasing Glory podcast, Matt Riddle discussed being turned down by WWE in 2015 over his UFC release for smoking pot. Riddle was cut by the MMA company in 2013 after failing a test for marijuana, his second such failed test. He talked about why he didn’t fight his release and how being turned down by WWE over it inspired him and made him a better wrestler than he otherwise would have.

Highlights from the discussion, and the full podcast, are below:

On being rejected after his 2015 tryout: “I got denied. I think if it wasn’t for my past with the UFC — which, you would think it would help. Which it did, but it also hurt because I got fired for smoking pot. And not because — to clarify, I wasn’t just smoking pot, I had a medical marijuana license. And I was legally allowed to use it in the state of Nevada, because I had a couple of hand surgeries and knee surgeries. And I was prescribed all of these pharmaceutical drugs that I didn’t want to take that were addictive. I chose to go the other route, and I got in trouble for that.”

On why he didn’t fight his being fired by the UFC: “I had an option to fight it at the time, because the UFC fired me because of it and all that. But I didn’t. I wanted to eventually go back to the UFC, finish my career there, so I didn’t want to ruffle any feathers. I’m actually a pretty nice guy. I may talk a little trash here and there, but I’m a nice guy, and I really wanted to like, maybe go somewhere, fight a couple fights. Get a couple wins, because I was already on a four or five win streak in the UFC. I don’t think other people were gonna beat me up. And I would come back, finish my career, whatever … and after they fired me, and Dana White went on FS1. And …he just bashed me, called me a loser. One of the statements was, ‘Where would this loser make six figures a year? Where else will this loser make six figures a year. So now, I’m here. Funny you said that!”

On how being rejected by WWE inspired him: “I tell the coaches here, I tell everybody, I’m like, I love the Performance Center, I really do. I think it’s a great tool and a great thing. But I remember what made me a good pro wrestler was them telling me no. When I had my tryout, and they said, ‘Hey, we’re gonna take a pass because you failed a drug test for weed for the UFC years ago.’ I’m like, ‘Okay.’ And then I was literally, I can do it, I can be me. I’m not trying to please you, I’m not trying to please anybody. I can please myself now. And the second I started trying to please myself, that crowd started roaring. And you can see that with other really popular wrestlers. Its when they can tell they’re real, they’re themselves 100%. And that’s it. But if it wasn’t for that struggle, if it wasn’t for them saying no to a contract and money. and a comfy gym to train in every day, and coaches to help and everything. I had to go do it all my own. I had to go out of pocket and start landscaping, and roofing, with three kids and everything else. And it was brutal, and I had to struggle again. But it made it that much sweeter at the end. And the struggle, if I didn’t have to struggle, I don’t I’d be where I am. I wouldn’t be as popular as I am, I wouldn’t be as good as I am. I wouldn’t be as passionate as I am. But because I’ve gone through multiple struggles and everything, it creates what I am.”

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Chasing Glory with a h/t to 411mania.com for the transcription.