WWE champ’s release creates new Jake Paul fight

Celebrity pugilist Jake Paul. – Netflix Courtesy Everett Collection

Could the WWE layoffs lead to Jake Paul getting a new opponent?

As we reported earlier, the WWE has laid off over a hundred employees and dozens of its wrestlers following the UFC merger and their announcement of a billion dollar TV deal. One of those involved in the mass layoffs and cost cutting measures is UFC veteran turned WWE superstar, Matt Riddle.

“Just wanted to inform everyone that I’m no longer with WWE. Thank you for the memories and opportunities also thank you to all the fans for the support and love you give me every time I go out to the ring. See you all soon,” Riddle announced late September.

Soon after his release, it looks like the former WWE US champion already has a potentially lucrative opportunity waiting for him should he decide to return to fighting.

FloSports: FloSlam EVOLVE 78, Feb 24, 2017; Joppa, MD, USA; Matt Riddle competes in the ring against Anthony Henry during Evolve 78 at The MCW Arena. Mandatory Credit: Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports, 24.02.2017 20:14:36, 9905302, FloSports, Matt Riddle, Anthony Henry PUBLICATIONxINxGERxSUIxAUTxONLY Copyright: xDerikxHamiltonx 9905302
IMAGO / Derik Hamilton / USA TODAY Sports

Jake Paul in talks to fight former WWE champion Matt Riddle

Jake Paul is fresh off a victory over Nate Diaz, and it looks like he will have yet another UFC veteran lined up as a possible opponent.

According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (via Bodyslam.net), rather than rushing to rematch Nate Diaz in the PFL, Paul may in fact have his sights set on a bout against former UFC & WWE athlete Matt Riddle.

“There were at least talks that were expected to take place this week regarding Jake Paul vs. Matt Riddle. At best, the talk right now should be categorized as very preliminary.”

Jake Paul, 26, is currently 7-1 as a boxer. He apparently isn’t tired of all the casual fans weirdly accusing him of being in fake fights, as he is apparently now looking at fighting a pro wrestler.

Matt Riddle, 37, fought for the UFC from 2008 to 2013, and compiled an MMA record of 8-3 (2 NC). The two No Contests were originally wins that were overturned due to those outdated rules on cannabis at the time. He eventually switched to pro wrestling and joined the WWE in 2018, where bloomed into a much bigger star. He became a WWE US champion, and two-time Raw Tag Team champion with Randy Orton.

There was no mention whether it’d be another boxing match, or a possible MMA debut for Jake Paul on a PFL PPV, which he has been teasing for a while now.

While Riddle would be a far less accomplished fighter than any of the MMA veterans Jake Paul has beaten in Nate Diaz, Anderson Silva, Tyron Woodley, and Ben Askren, he does have a sizable following after his WWE stint, which might be one of his bigger considerations. Riddle comes with a lot of baggage too though.

Summerslam 2021 After Party - Las Vegas Matt Riddle attends the WWE Summerslam 2021 After Party at Della s Restaurant, Delano Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nv, August 21, 2021 PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUKxIRL Copyright: xAJMx 61920690
IMAGO / AJM

Matt Riddle sex assault allegations

While Matt Riddle had success in the WWE ring, he was a bit of a liability outside of it, with a recent outburst at a New York airport, and a previous accusation of sexual assault.

“During the van ride, when the 3 other wrestlers had fallen asleep, Matt asked me to ‘hop on his d—‘ When I refused (although we had previously been together I was incredibly uncomfortable in that setting),” Pro wrestler Candy Cartwright wrote on Twitter in 2020.

“When I said no, he grabbed me by my throat, choked me and said ‘what if I just made you?’ I ended up giving him oral sex (praying someone wouldn’t wake up) to get out of having intercourse with him. It was incredibly humiliating.”

Riddle went on to deny the allegations, and filed a restraining order against Cartwright claiming he was being harassed. Cartwright also filed a lawsuit against Riddle in 2020 over the bus incident. Both the restraining order and the lawsuit were eventually dropped.


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About the author

Anton Tabuena


Anton Tabuena is the Managing Editor for Bloody Elbow. He’s been covering MMA and combat sports since 2009, and has also fought in MMA, Muay Thai and kickboxing.

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