We got to meet up with "Diesel" while he was visiting the emerald coast on vacation. Joe and Lisa Riggs were admiring the pristine wildlife from the Pensacola Beach fishing pier over the course of our discussion. We talked his MMA career, a potential Riggs vs Diaz rematch, and just life in general. All while watching Black Tip Sharks, Sea Turtles, Jellyfish and stuff swim around under us. This is one of the coolest interviews we've ever done.
As we paid for our wristbands, the pier attendant noticed Joe's shirt that says
-Boxing, the sweet science-
Our attendant looked Joe up and down then asked "So you know anything about boxing?"
to which Joe replied "A thing or two."
"Well, then you should know who Roy Jones Jr. is! He's from here." stated the attendant.
"Oh that's awesome." Joe replied
As we started our walk down the pier, Joe mentioned he's fought on the same card as Roy before. Joe was happy the pier attendant proudly informs people of Jones Jr's home town. Riggs wasn't offended at the question and didn't care to tell the attendant he knows Roy very well. It was very apparent that the Riggs family are humble & down to earth people. Either of them could have mentioned that Joe is one of the most decorated combat athletes of all time, in the MMA hall of fame, winner of Bellator's Fight Master, a former WEC Middleweight Champion, with an extensive win history in the UFC, Strikeforce, Bareknuckle Fighting Championship and a slew of other combat sports promotions.
Joe Riggs has an official 70 total fights with 49 wins, while 37 of those wins are from knockouts and 6 are from submissions. Unofficially Riggs has well over 100 fights, including his hospital post fight with both of the Diaz brothers at the same time. This is one of the baddest people on the planet. It was really interesting to pick their brain about the fight industry. Discussing his favorite and least favorite referees, the Reebok deal turned Venum, and having to kick Sean O'Malley out of his home for smoking too much pot - while we overlooked the emerald green waters.
I brought up that it's interesting he fought famous ref Herb Dean (TKO, 1st round 0:52.) To which Joe replied that Herbs actually his favorite ref. Really honorable guy who he thought wouldn't referee Riggs fights because of being upset over the loss. When really Herb told him that it was because conflict of interest, fighters deserve fair unbiased fights. "When someone beats you, you want them to look good to make yourself look better" in those words more or less.
When asking about the elimination of sponsors for fighters with the Reebok deal that turned into a Venum sponsorship. Famously taking more pay from fighters and making them more dependent on the promotion. Joe said it was one of the worst things to ever happen to fighters. It's intent may have been well intended but in practice it caused more harm than good in Riggs eyes. "Don't make fighters like NASCAR drivers" is what people were saying. It seemed like there was more earning potential when that was allowed. Endorsements and sponsorships can obviously still exist in major promotions but that was a big blow to fighters.
Sean O'Malley became the new UFC Bantamweight Champion Saturday August 20th, the other night. Our interview was Sunday, the day after. Asked Joe about the championship fight and come to find out, the two have actually lived together. O'Malley was training with Riggs and the two are friends. Lisa Riggs has bad allergies so due to Sean's smoking, he had to end his stay with them. "The craziest thing about Sean is he doesn't get nerves before or during a fight. Always just calm as can be, that's so important to keep your composure."
As we wrapped up our hangout and took some pics of them at the pier, who Joe will fight next came up. "It's gotta be Diaz." Maybe there's still some bad blood over the hospital brawl. Technically if there is a rematch, this would be Riggs vs Diaz 3. We can expect him to fight Nate at some point afterwards as well. I should have asked Joe to emphasize on which Diaz brother he was talking about, something tells me he meant both of them.
- Stay up to date on fight news with Fight.TV