Joe Riggs accidentally shoots himself in hand, leg, putting UFC return on hold

Joe Riggs, who has not fought in the UFC since 2006, had to pull out of a fight with Paulo Thiago at UFC Fight Night on Sept. 15 after shooting himself while cleaning his gun.

Joe Riggs last fought in the UFC in 2006.

Christian Petersen / Getty Images North America

Joe Riggs' nickname is "Diesel," but don't be surprised when everyone starts calling him "Plaxico Burress."

Riggs was set to make his return to the UFC after eight years away against Paulo Thiago at UFC Fight Night on Sept. 13 in Brasilia. But Riggs shot himself in the hand and upper thigh while cleaning his gun Monday night and had to pull out of he bout, the UFC announced.

"We were made aware that newly signed UFC competitor Joe Riggs was involved in an unfortunate accident last night," the UFC said in a statement. "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."

Burress, the former New York Giants Super Bowl hero, went to jail in 2009 when he shot himself in the leg with a handgun at a New York City nightclub. The gun was tucked into his belt. Burress served 22 months due to New York's strict gun laws. Riggs won't face any criminal charges, since he was in his home and Arizona doesn't have similar regulations.

The UFC is currently looking for a replacement to fight Thiago. The incident is extremely unfortunate for Riggs (40-14, 1 NC), who has won six straight and is getting a second opportunity in the UFC after most recently winning Bellator's Ultimate Fighter-like reality series.

Riggs, who also fought in Strikeforce, last competed in the UFC in 2006, a knockout loss to Diego Sanchez. He owns wins in his career over Nick Diaz, Chris Lytle and Phil Baroni.

"Diesel" might be best known for getting into a physical altercation with Diaz at the hospital after their fight in 2006.

Send feedback on our
new story page