Newly re-signed UFC welterweight Joe Riggs has suffered his fair share of setbacks in his MMA career but his most recent was quite possibly the worst yet after he accidentally shot himself in his hand and foot.
At the time, Riggs was in the process of preparing for his return to the Octagon as he was booked to face off against Paulo Thiago next month at UFC Fight Night 51 in Brazilia, Brazil. But, his return was put on halt when “Diesel” shot himself while trying to remove a live round in his pistol.
Doctors originally feared it would be the end of his fighting career but after some remarkable progress and three hand surgeries he has been able to start training again and plans on returning to the cage. While appearing on “The MMA Hour” recently, Riggs discussed his traumatic experience:
“When I lost consciousness and I came back to, it was a feeling of any worldly stress you have, gone…it was a crazy feeling,” he said. “The feeling of dying was very easy. The feeling of wanting to live and to fight through that pain was awful. It would have been very easy to let go and die. But I guess for a reason I’m here, and I’m alive, and I’m able to fight again unbelievably. My hand, I can make a fist, and yesterday I actually did my first workout. The doctors are astounded at how fast the rehabilitation has gone.”
Riggs required a blood transfusion to save his life after his heart beat dropped down to around “10 beats per minute”. The MMA vet was sure he was done but he managed to somehow pull through. Now he thinks the experience has changed him for the better.
“I thought for sure I hit my femoral artery, because it was just spraying blood,” he said. “I thought for sure I was going to die. I said goodbye to my son, I said goodbye to my wife, so I thought I was dead. When you think you’re going to die, it does something to you…it just deeply changed me to the core.”
If all goes to plan with his recovery, Riggs would like to return in December. When asked about a potential opponent he mentioned a rematch with Jordan Mein who knocked him out in January 2011. However, he accepts that he isn’t on Mein’s level and will need a win or two if he wants to meet him again
“I’ll be ready to fight in December, whichever show it may be.”
If he is able to make a successful return, is there anyone you would like to see him matched up against first?