(“Chipper” and his infectious war-grin.)
In the latest installment of MMAJunkie’s “Ten TUF Questions” feature, freshly eliminated Ultimate Fighter castmember Matthew Riddle confirms our suspicions that the booking of so many contract fighters on the TUF 7 finale card means that most of this season’s castmembers weren’t worthy of another televised scrap:
Yes, I’m on the card. But I can’t tell you who (I’m fighting). [laughs] You’re going to like it, though. We’re not allowed to say, but I think it’s a fight everyone wants to see. I’m not saying s***, though. The people who didn’t fight up to par got the boot and got cut. I think the UFC’s just getting so big that they’re only going to take the best. A lot of the guys from the cast weren’t invited to fight at the finale.
Unless Riddle starts some drama with another one of his housemates, we’d have to assume that he’ll be taking on Dante “I’ll Retire If You Beat Me” Rivera. And yes, we do want to see that. Elsewhere in the interview, Riddle responds to criticism of his celebratory behavior after nearly killing Dan Simmler in episode two:
The first thing — and they don’t show it — but he was out for about 15 or 20 minutes after I knocked him out. I was stoked at first and putting my thumbs up and smiling. Then, he didn’t get up, and I kind of slowed down. When he woke up and started moaning, I felt bad. [The show's editors] don’t show that. They just show me with my thumbs up, but I don’t enjoy hurting people. I just like to compete. It’s part of the sport, and it happens.
So has the Ultimate Fighter experience convinced Riddle to ditch his two-bit fight camp and join up with a big-name team?
I’ve been [at Rat Pack Fighting Systems] like four months, and all the sudden I’m like their poster boy, but it’s about to end. I’m having a meeting tonight, and I don’t care if you put this in there, but I’m telling him off. It’s like they’re trying to use me. Yeah, it’s probably smart on their part because it puts them on the map, but they could have gone about it differently. I feel like I’m being taking advantage of, and I don’t like that. I’m probably going to train with (fellow castmate Mike) Dolce and all those guys at Team Quest North and then with Rampage at Big Bear (Calif.) with the high altitude and stuff to get ready for my fight… Rampage and I got along very well. I got along with Juanito, too, and all the coaches. They still call me to see what I’m doing.
Check out the rest of the interview here. And take this lesson to heart, aspiring fighters: They’ll forget your ground game and they’ll forget your heavy hands, but a great smile will always make an impression.