There’s a Chinese proverb that says “Failure is not falling down but refusing to get up”. When Knockout Energy Team Athlete Joe “Diesel” Riggs steps into the Bellator cage on Saturday, November 2 in Long Beach, California – he will have done just that –gotten up and standing resilient in more ways than just one.
Riggs is set to face Mike “The Greek” Bronzoulis in the FightMaster finale. They were originally scheduled to meet at Bellator 98, but Joe suffered a nasty partial orbital bone fracture and a detached retina in training that forced a postponement of the fight. Just another small set back for Riggs who has had his fair share of tough times in and out of the cage.
In the cage, Joe “Diesel” Riggs dream of fighting in the UFC materialized when he was only 23 years old having many notable and memorable wins over the likes of Nick Diaz and Chris Lytle, but also suffering heavy doses of physical injuries and setbacks. Out of the cage, in 2006, Riggs lost his first child, who was less than a month old, to SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Moving on from that heart-breaking tragedy was the biggest battle of Riggs’ young life. He struggled with severe bouts of depression and self-medicated with prescription pain medicine. He still was fighting and trying to advance his career, yet his life and career were becoming increasingly difficult to balance and eventually the turmoil got the best of him. The subsequent events occurring the next few years were nothing short of extreme trials but he survived because his family is something that Riggs fought the hardest for and he did not want to lose. With his wife by his side, Riggs eventually attempted to stabilize his life even after nearly losing all that he had. In 2011, trying as it was, Riggs made another go at the sport. Riggs debuted for Bellator and was knocked out in the second record. His mind and heart were absent in the cage. He disliked the sport and was not training correctly –for all the skills and expertise one learns in mixed martial arts, heart cannot be taught.
Then along came Coach John Crouch who pushed Riggs and convinced him not to give up on himself. Riggs managed to win 5 back to back fights. Around that same time, Bellator matchmaker, Sam Caplan, was looking for a familiar face to be on a MMA reality show with a group of largely unknown but promising newcomers. All eyes turned to Riggs and he was offered a spot on Bellator’s FightMaster. His mental and physical stamina, as well as his faith and heart synced, Riggs accepted. After battling his way through a 16-fighter playing field of seasoned guys with 19:3 or 13:2 records, his performance thus far in the FightMaster cage has been exemplary. He now steps into the cage in the finals this Saturday; his overall fight record stands at 54 fights with 39 wins; 14 losses and 1 no contest.
Rigs takes the next step in the resurrection of his career with the Bellator MMA FightMaster Finale that will be televised on the Spike Channel.
Riggs is a walking success story, beating the biggest fight of all though the cards were stacked against him. As one fan recently stated “the heart of a champion will not give up. You are an inspiration to those who are thinking of giving up. You are already a Champion to me, but when you become the Bellator FightMaster Champ you will have the title that you desire”. According to his fans, family, and friends – Riggs is already a master of the fight – as indicated by his steely determination to never give up on his dreams even in the face of adversity.
As a Knockout Energy Team Athlete, Joe Riggs reflects the true spirit of their mantra “Respect All – Fear None”. Respect for each and every one and situation you may find yourself in as well as fearing none, no thing, no person, no obstacle and no struggle. Today Joe is training regularly and consistently on a daily basis. He is mentally, physically, and emotionally in the best place of his life. Riggs said it best after his last day of MMA sparring for his fight camp:
“I ended training today weighing 186lbs one week out from the fight and in the best shape of my career. During the Fight Master series I was 211 the week of the fight and I was never tired so you can imagine how I feel now. The only setback was the eye and I not only feel great I can see even better. I want to thank Spike TV and Bellator MMA, my sparring brother Bryan Barberena, my coach John Crouch and all my training partners, Tim Welch, Ben Benson Henderson and Jon Tuck and a special thanks to Mma Lab for giving me a home to train. I can’t wait to leave Wednesday with my boy Tim Welch to head to WAR. Special thanks to Larry Miller Volkswagen and Knockout Energy for having my back, the countdown has begun!”
Joe is ready.