Joe Riggs has had his ups and downs, but his career could be looking up again after getting a shot on Bellator’s “Fight Master” reality show.
The 30-year-old veteran recently joined the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show to discuss his career, his future and much more.
On people saying he seems 40 years old, not 30, given his experience: “Everybody always says that crap. … I want to kick them in the head. … Some guy came into the gym the other day and he’d made like a mural painting of me, and I look like I’m 70 in it. I wanted to strangle him. It was a good painting, but my face had so much s--t all over it. I was upset about it, but yeah, I understand that. I’ve just been fighting for so long, so people think I’m older. It’s good that my career’s taking a big upswing. I’m happy to be a part of things right now.”
On his biggest accomplishment: “My biggest accomplishment in my career is probably outside the cage. Probably beating addiction. Inside the cage, it’s probably getting the title shot in the UFC, getting a title shot in Strikeforce or being the WEC champion, something like that.”
On his lowest point: “The lowest point in my career was definitely after I lost to Diego Sanchez. I’m not taking anything away from him, but a big part of that was from addiction. Blowing an opportunity like that and being on drugs and lying to my family and all that stuff, I think that’s definitely an addict’s low point. Every addict has a low point, and if they hit their low point, they go up. Some addicts hit their low points several times … but that’s the time that sticks out. Right after my son was born, I was really struggling. I’ve had a lot of ups and downs in my life. I’m just glad to be finally on an upward steady swing.”
On taking pain pills before fighting Sanchez: “I took them the day of the fight. I took them probably 15 minutes before the fight. It wasn’t a good thing. … I got dropped by a little shot because [if] you hit a drunk guy, he’s going to go down a lot easier. Same thing, you hit a guy that’s [on] narcotics, [he’s] going to go down a lot faster.”
On fighting again in Rage in the Cage, where he started his career: “It’s embarrassing, man. It’s embarrassing to my family, to my friends, the people you think are fans of yours. I mean, it’s embarrassing. To go back to where you started, to go from making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, to go to fighting for a couple thousand -- that’s embarrassing. It sucks. It’s embarrassing on so many levels.”
On “Fight Master”: “My wife was tired of living like a fighter. It’s either feast or famine. We both agreed: If I go on this show and it doesn’t pan out the way I know it can … if I don’t go on the show and win it, then I’m going to retire. You’ve got to find out if I retire or not. I might have to retire after this whole thing’s over or I might just keep going on.”
On getting talked into doing the show: “I talked to one of the producers and I was like, ‘I just can’t leave my family.’ My son was 5 at the time. My daughter’s 3. Every day, you can’t take those days back. I was real hesitant to leave, so I said I can’t do it. They coaxed me with some other stuff and they just talked me into it, and I hopped on the plane and left. I take it back. That’s the biggest accomplishment, to be able to survive mentally seven weeks without my family and do what I did on the show so far up to this point.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 34:40).