Well, it looks like longtime UFC veteran Joe Riggs’ return to the Octagon was a very short-lived one, at least for now.
After being scheduled to face slumping Paulo Thiago at UFC Fight Night 51 in Brasilia, Brazil, “Diesel” has been forced out of the bout after he was hospitalized with hand and leg injuries suffered while cleaning a licensed gun, rendering him unable to fight on the September 13 card.
The UFC released a statement on the odd situation this afternoon:
“We were made aware that newly-signed UFC competitor Joe Riggs was involved in an unfortunate accident last night. While cleaning his permitted firearm (a pistol), the gun discharged, injuring his hand and upper thigh. Riggs was transported to a nearby hospital in Arizona where he is being treated by physicians. We wish Joe a speedy recovery.”
Perhaps best known for engaging in a wild all-out brawl at a Las Vegas hospital following his UFC 57 decision win over bad boy Nick Diaz, the 31-year-old Riggs has been out of action since he won the first (and probably only) season of Bellator’s “Fight Master” by defeating Mike Bronzoulis at Bellator 106 last November.
Quietly working his way up the ladder in regional promotions, “Diesel” has won six straight bouts. However, his anticipated return to UFC will have to wait until his injuries heal up. Riggs is apparently in stable condition and expected to make a full recovery from the incident.
Meanwhile, Thiago, who has lost two straight fights and six out of his last eight, will await a new opponent for the card. He was originally set to face Mike Rhodes, who was also forced out due to injury.
Overall, it’s an unfortunate and anticlimactic (not to mention bizarre and foolish) set of circumstances for Riggs, who has worked incredibly hard to get re-signed to the world’s biggest MMA promotion. Did “Diesel” blast his way out of a UFC return before it even started?