Joe Riggs’s long, strange trip back to the UFC got even stranger this week.
The welterweight veteran found himself out of his next fight and in the hospital after shooting himself in the hand and thigh while cleaning his pistol. The UFC reports that Sean Spencer has stepped in for Riggs in the scheduled September 13 bout against Paulo Thiago in Brasilia.
“We were made aware that newly-signed UFC competitor Joe Riggs was involved in an unfortunate accident last night,” read a UFC statement released Tuesday. “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.”
Riggs holds notable victories over Chris Lytle, Phil Baroni, and Nick Diaz, whom he fought a second time in an unsanctioned scrap at the hospital immediately after his decision victory over the Stockton-based striker at UFC 57. His most famous opponent may be Herb Dean, whom Riggs stopped on strikes as a heavyweight during the referee’s brief career as a competitor in the cage.
Riggs has competed in more than twenty matches in various promotions since leaving the UFC after a late-2006 defeat to Diego Sanchez. He owns a six-fight winning streak punctuated by a reality-television tournament victory over Mike Bronzoulis on Spike TV’s Bellator: Fight Master.